Horror fans have had a tough time trusting their genre in the 00s. Its at the point where just about every theatrical release is a remake, "torture porn, a sequel, or a torture porn sequel to a remake. So when a movie comes along that describes itself as "old school American horror, it feels like a blessing, in this case disguised as a giant deformed hick who swings a hatchet.
Adam Greens first foray into horror finds him making all the right moves to justify his hefty tagline. Hes clearly studied what fans crave and incorporated it into his script and special effects. Hatchet is a launch pad for Victor Crowley (played by horror vet Kane Hodder), the aforementioned giant deformed murderous hick, who lays his vengeful hatchet and Herculean hands on anyone that comes within an inch of his house in a Louisiana swamp. (The back-story of Crowleys chip and grudge is a creative one, worthy of establishing him as a legend.) Cue the Mardi Gras party squad, who rent a boat for a haunted swamp tour that ends up at, you guessed it, Crowleys doorstep.
While not featuring the originality some would hope for, Green packs Hatchet with a welcome number of sardonic one-liners and slapstick goodies, which combined with a ruthless taste for gore (one lady gets her mouth opened, completely), takes us back to that old school tradition he boasts of. And most importantly, the ending leaves you guessing, just like the best of the genre.
Hatchet wont garner the same praise as innovative films like The Texas Chainsaw Massacre or Halloween, but it certainly should earn respect for injecting like into a genre that over the last few years has seemed lost. Lets hope theres a sequel or two because something tells me Green has the smarts to take a character like Crowley and use him, not abuse him. (Anchor Bay)