Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Hatchet (2006)

Director: Adam Green
Notable Cast: Joel Moore, Deon Richmond, Tamara Feldman, Kane Hodder, Robert Englund, Tony Todd

With all the news of Hatchet II coming into full swing, I decided to go back and revisit one of my favorite films of 2006, the dark horror/comedy Hatchet. Full to the brim of American 80s slasher cliches and sporting some badass moments and pretty stellar cameos, its hard not to love Hatchet in all its cheesy and ridiculous glory...at least for any self respecting horror fan.

Victor Crowley is a myth, right? The deformed son of a bayou man, Crowley died a tragic death and supposedly haunts the swamp where his house was burned to the ground. Not that anyone believes it. That's why buddies Ben and Marcus leave Mardi Gras to take a shady haunted Swamp Tour to see the ghosts of the swamp. They meet your slew of average tourist types, but when their boat sinks into the swamp they are left to find their way home through the bayou...and through Crowley's territory.

The heart of this film, and why its so good, is that in its homages to the slasher film of the 80s, it also makes fun of itself and the genre. All great humor is that of self reflection, and Hatchet is just that. It uses every cliche known to the slasher genre, piles it all together in one massive gore filled basic plot and lets it loose on the unsuspecting audience. With a feeling and atmosphere taken straight from Evil Dead 2, Hatchet works on creating a world of American style old school horror that makes other knock offs of the genre look like amateurs.

The story is basic, the acting is uproariously cheesy and over the top including your hero, sidekick, naive couple, bimbos that release their tops for the sake of making a cliche, and our character that is the only one that knows what is actually going on, and of course, a disfigured villain of superhuman strength, size, and ferocity ready to disembowel anything that moves. Its' everything you want in a slasher all done with a solid sense of fun that understands what it is.

Of course, it helps that Adam Green (director) actually throws in some nice visual work and surprises for those just expecting run of the mill stuff here (the shaking bush scene comes to mind with how Green toys with the audience in a cheesy way). He is quite the talent behind the camera (as you can find out by watching his subtle Hitchcockian thriller Spiral that is essentially just the opposite of this film) and his sweet visual style mixes well with the raw look of the setting and REAL special effects. No CGI here folks.

If you want to have a bloody fun time, pick up Hatchet. If you have the right sense of humor or know your slashers its going to be an instant favorite. I will have to admit that if you don't get it, this movie will seem horrendously bad to you. And that's okay. It's made for a chosen audience and done well for them.

BONUS RANT: I still am trying to figure out how this film scored a Manson song to open and close the film. Although I understand the humor behind the song choice, "This Is The New Shit" is a song about how everything shocking has been down before even though everyone claims it to be new, it still sits oddly at the beginning of the film. It would have been better to just end the film with the song rather than open with it. 

Written By Matt Reifschneider

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