Director: Adam Green
Cast: Joel David Moore, Tamara Feldman, Mercedes McNab, Kane Hodder
Review by Brian M. Sammons
Very few movies in recent history are as divisive as this one. Some people love it, others hate it. Me, I fall mostly into the first camp. Now that might shock some horror fans out there as I am keenly aware how cool and hip it is to rag on this little flick and while part of me understands the reasons for that, the larger part of me just doesn’t get it. First, let’s hit the reasons while some may hate this film.
I think the main reason this movie gets so dumped on is because it was built up like few movies before it. Hatchet was “coming soon” for a long, long, long time and all you heard for years was just how cool and badass it was going to be. Nothing on earth could have live up to that much hype. Worse yet, there were some in the horror community that got early access to the movie and then lauded it all to hell and gone, again raising expectations to dizzying heights. Then there were the critic quote whores who really didn’t help matters. Calling this movie, “The holy grail of slasher films” might get you on the DVD case, but despite being chock full of hyperbole, you’re practically issuing a challenge to horrorheads, daring them to hate this movie. So with all that going against it, I can understand why some walked away from Hatchet saying, “you know what, that movie wasn’t all that,” which in time turned into “that movie sucked” once their opinions started bouncing around in the echo chamber that is the internet.
And yet, is this movie really all that bad?
Hell no. It’s got tons of practical gore. That is, real honest to goodness fake blood and latex guts instead of the cheaper, and very much cheaper looking, CGI gore effects that far too many horror movies utilize. That alone gets this movie huge points from me. But hey, that’s not all. What’s a slasher flick without nudie shots aplenty? In this case, as an extra bonus for Buffy The Vampire Slayer fans like me, we are treated to repeated shots of Mercedes McNab’s lovely lady lumps. Want more? Well then how about the best maniac to ever put one Jason’s hockey mask, Kane Hodder, as the hulking, deformed killer, Victor Crowley. Still not enough? Ok there are cameos by Robert Englund and Tony Todd, lots of smartass, snarky humor that actually works, a memorable movie maniac, and a classic slasher back-story of a mean spirited prank gone horribly wrong that gives birth to an undying psycho looking for vengeance. Oh and did I mention the truly awe inspiring gore gags? Well they bear repeating. Guys get hacked in half in full view of the camera, a woman gets her head ripped off at the jaw line, and heads get twisted 360 degrees until they erupt into blood geysers, belt sanders on faces, and so much more. A line in Scream 2 sums it up best; “Carnage candy.”
Just in time for the sequel, Anchor Bay has put out one fine Blu-ray for this movie. The picture looks markedly better than the DVD edition and all the features from that previous version have been transferred to the BD. They include a highly entertaining audio commentary with the writer/director Adam Green, the cinematographer, and most of the cast. There’s a making of featurette, another all about killer Victor, two on different aspects of he gore effects, one about how Adam Green and glam metal legend Dee Snider of Twisted Sister fame met and became friends, a gag reel, and trailers. Plus, new to this Blu-ray, is a commentary with Adam Green and fan favorite Kane Hodder.
I highly enjoy this movie. It’s bloody, sexy, and funny entertainment and I really don’t know how a fan of slasher flicks could not like it. If you’ve never seen this movie, then do so now, and this BD is the best way to do that. If you’ve seen Hatchet already and loved it, then getting this disc is a no brainer. If you saw it and hated it, then you honestly need to give it another shot, even if it’s not the cool thing to do. Consider this one recommended.