Anchor Bay Entertainment, 2006.
Hatchet makes no apologies. Ever self-aware, the movie is advertised as “Old-school American horror” and that’s more or less what you get. Hatchet is obviously going for a retro ’80s slasher film feel, complete with your quintessential disfigured villain, gore and bad acting. A lot of it has been done: its swamp setting, the deformed villain, but it’s fine, Hatchet embraces it all. Besides, what else could you have possibly expected?
You know you’re in for some legit old-school horror when your cast features Kane Hodder as the main villain and an appearance by Robert Englund no less. I loved the first sequence starring the ever reliable Englund, it gives the story a strong setting and it’s great to see him on our screens again.
One of the best sequences of Hatchet is without a doubt the retelling of Victor Crowley’s backstory. About the backstory… Let’s just say it’s a story Jason Vorhees would find relatable. I know, it’s not very original, but it’s effective and gives off a classic vibe. It has the makings of one of the great horror icons.
In a nutshell, Victor Crowley was born grossly deformed as a child. This leads to his dad to keep him under lock and key shielding him away from other children. In a Halloween prank gone wrong, Crowley is accidentally killed and now he haunts the swamps where he died. Crowley’s story is interesting, and although somewhat reminiscent of other horror films and borrows from Friday the 13’s, it stand strong enough on it’s own.
The story? Ahh! of course, a few individuals think it’s a good idea to go on a haunted tour where legends of Crowley are whispered… And you can probably figure out the rest of the story.
“About the backstory… Let’s just say it’s a story Jason Vorhees would find relatable.”
The character of Victor Crowley is a good old classic, pissed-off villain. Kane Hodder has proven himself time after time and in Hatchet he shines once more, playing to perfection the part of the mammoth and nightmare of a man that is Crowley.
I can’t say the same of the other characters and their largely forgettable stories. Hatchet abides largely by horror stereotypes: the sweet old couple, the crook, the two dumb wannabe porn-actress, the strong female, the scared/funny black guy.
The kills are solid and would’ve been right at home in a ’80s Slasher flick, which is what they intended and were going for. The death scenes are not overly cliché’d and some are very creative -at least in comparison to modern horror- others are rather to the point and very effective.
I won’t spoil it, but I thought Hatchet ended a little abruptly. The ending was lacking that spark and unsatisfying, it certainly could have ended on a higher note. Otherwise, if you’re looking for a fun retro ’80s slash-fest and some old-school horror you could do worse.
I remember a lot of hype around this film upon it’s release. It doesn’t quite live up to the hype as Hatchet fails to be all it tries to be, but it keeps you entertained and managed two sequels. The character of Victor Crowley, his story and the gore are top notch, it’s the rest that’s not quite up to par. Not a terrible movie, in many ways it’s decent horror. Just don’t expect too much.