Sunday, March 20, 2011

Hatchet II - 3/5

It's no secret to those of you that follow Blood Brothers, that I am a pretty big Adam Green fan. The guy knows how to make genre films including the super suspenseful "Frozen" as his previous outing and his homage to classic American slashers, "Hatchet". Now that "Hatchet II" finally has been unleashed on home video, it briefly came to theaters but no where near where I live, it was only righteous of me to support him and get my hands on a copy of it. Although not quite as solid as the first, this sequel does what it does best (gore and humor) and those of you who are already fans, aka me, are going to eat it up.

Marybeth ( know, Michael Myers niece from "Halloween 4" and "5") has survived the night with Victor Crowley, but the bodies of her father and brother still reside within his domain. In her unstable state, she decides it is her duty to get the bodies out and perhaps find a way to kill the mangled killer. She enlists the help of bayou trickster Reverend Zombie (Tony "I am rumor - Candyman" Todd) and a slew of hunters to go with her and kill the bastard once and for all. 

If you enjoyed "Hatchet", then there is plenty more to love with "Hatchet II". Like any worthy American slasher sequel, its basically a rehashed version of the original with a slightly more complicated plot (interwoven with the original) and more gore. In this sense, the film works in spades. The kills are heftier with more gore and more ridiculousness including the return of the belt sander and an extra long and beastly chainsaw. The humor is also back with how over the top violent it is (you did just read about an extra long chainsaw, so guess how that goes) and how the cliche's of the story play out. It's this combination of its sheer brutality and quirky humor that plays on the slasher ABCs which makes this franchise a must have for horror fans and Adam Green knows his shit.

On the other malformed hand, "Hatchet II" lacks the surprising solidity of the originator. We now KNOW what is coming and despite some great attempts at twisting it on the audience it never quite feels as fresh as one could hope. Bigger kills and the same humor are in full swing, but at times the film almost takes a serious turn with its new plot additions. I almost wanted it to go even more over the top with some of its moments like our eventual Rev. Zombie/Crowley showdown. I almost wanted to watch these two titans of horror seriously duke it out (maybe throw in a "Candyman" quote in there for good measure) before it ends. As is, basically get the same thing. Not a bad thing (I do still really enjoy the first one), but it felt lacking at times.

All in all, "Hatchet II" is the essential slasher sequel. We get some things that are bigger and gorier, but its not as strong as its predecessor for various reasons. As a fan of Adam Green and the series, its hard for me not to have a love for this film despite its flaws though and I know its going to be a film I rewatch over and over again for the giddiness of what it is. 

BONUS PRAISE: Dibs to Adam Green for not only knowing his horror of the past, but of the present as well. The reference to Leslie Vernon of "Behind The Mask" (another great modern slasher that references the classics) was priceless. Well done. 

Written By Matt Reifschneider

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