Film: Hatchet II
Written and Directed By Adam Green
Starring: Danielle Harris, Tony Todd, Kane Hodder, Parry Shen, Tom Holland
Distributed By: Dark Sky Films
Running Time: 89 Minutes
Review By Ross Hughes HCF Offical Critic
“Quite possibly for me personally, my most crushing disappointment of 2011”
I can not hide how I am feeling right now. After waiting four years to see Victor Crowley back on the screen and then have to suffer such a hatchet job at the promising franchise, the feelings of anger that is running through my body hurts so much, because make no mistake, Hatchet II is quite possibly for me personally, my most crushing disappointment of 2011.
Hatchet burst onto our screens with critical acclaim and a love that a film rarely gets from horror fans. Its axe struck firmly at the right time, with a bloated overkill of everything gore porn, its simple concept of a mad axe psycho was a throwback to the glory days of the eighties, when taking a trip down to Camp Crystal Lake with Jason was the coolest thing to do on a weekend. Hatchet showed that the slash genre was still alive and well, it bought old and new fans together and while it did not have the runaway success of Scream, it instantly became a slash classic and made writer and director Adam Green one to watch.
The talented young man followed the film up with Spiral, a cross breed of jazz music, horror and slightly old fashioned film noir that bored the pants off me, but he redeemed himself with the quite excellent Frozen that showed he may not become the quite one hit wonder that some were predicating. Many say that you should never go back and that saying has never been so fitting here, because Green’s decision to return to the film that made him a name, may ruin all the good work he created with two outstanding films.
Hatchet in simple film terms was what many fans called another Friday 13th. What Green done was simply create a new franchise out of the same concept and yet honour the film series in a way that all fans would respect. Even hiring Jason himself Kane Hodder to play Victor was enough to excite all horror nuts in believing that Hatchet would indeed be something special. The film was, it covered all the ingredients needed to make a slash movie, with naked girls, cool killings, some wonderful jokes and a bad guy you could die for. It made a possible sequel all the more intriguing, I mean how could Green get it wrong?
Well he did! Big time! Everything that could make a film so bad is present. I sat there totally bemused by what I was seeing, Green simply overkills everything and the script is awful. Now I know we horror fans do not watch a slasher movie for its complex storylines, but here you can not help but feel angry at such lazy writing. I mean come on, its the year 2011, having we moved on from being insulted by what we seeing and hearing. It seems that Green just could not be arsed with a neat storyline and what was once a film that honoured Friday 13th actually becomes it. What do I mean? Well read on!
Hatchet II starts right where the original ended, only this time we have a new Mary Beth in the shape of horror legend and the much loved Danielle Harris who every horror fans know from the Halloween franchise. I will get to her in the minute, but having survived the night of terror she heads back to see Zombie ( a returning Tony Todd) who was in charge of the boat trip that sunk in the swamp which led to the onslaught of killings. Here Zombie once again explains the background of Victor just in case us the fans are too thick to remember. Here though there is some added bits and straight away you realise this is going to be very silly. After a prolonged recap we discover that Victor can not die and he haunts the swamp because he is looking for his dead father and can only rest until he kills those responsible. I am serious here and if this sounds familiar its because its been done in every single Jason film. So Green has been paid to just rip off all those Friday films and he expects all slash fans to go along with this.
Now this scene alone made me want to throw up. If you want to see a two actors trying to outdo themselves in the crap stakes then look no further than Harris and Todd who nearly made my TV melt with their attempts. Harris who I have said for years should be a bigger star is totally off her game. Her screaming and panting made me want to throw up and her eyebrows done this little dance that was quite hypnotic. Seriously I found myself going into a trance as they kept on dancing above her eyes, I am sure they were trying to seduce me and I was halfway from taking my trousers off until I realised my wife was looking at me. Anyway its right here that I realised Green was taking the piss. Harris started to demand that she wanted to go back to the swamp and bring back the dead bodies?????? Todd explains that you can not kill Victor! We then get this exchange!.
“Last Night I burnt him, shot him, axed him!”…
“Then you should have hurt him harder!”…..?????????????????????????????
Ok, then, we then listen to Todd saying he will not go with her, never ever, ever, no, not in a life time, but Harris pleads and seduces him will her eyebrows and quick as a flash changes his mind. He hires a bunch of buddies to go with them in which one as the only sense to say “this is a lot like Jason” which makes him the only character you relate to because you screaming at the TV saying “It is mate, but worse!”
The group go stupidly to the swamp, and finally after nearly an hour of nothing, the film comes a rehash of the original but with non of the quality. A slash film lives and dies by its death scenes and there is only one of note that I have to put my hand up and say well done. The usual death by sex scene is a riot, the only laugh you get throughout all the running time, while the rest of the kills are nothing to write home about.
Die hard Slash fans will lap up the formula, but for such promise showed in the original, this sequel for me stank from begining to end. The gang spilt up on arrival and just speak a bit before getting killed really iritates, where Hatchet reminded you when slash was good, the sequel shows you why the entire genre burst its bubble.
Its an awful film, a total shocker by Adam Green who somehow makes a film full of slash simply a borefest. It becomes nothing more than a Friday ng>clone and while originally its heart was in the right place, if I wanted to see a masked man haunting a swamp while looking for his long dead parent then I would make a date with Jason, because Victor thanks to the non attempt by Green to inject any freshness, becomes just a wanabee, a sad statement after such promise that the original Hatchet served.
OVERALL: Really was not expecting this! A sequel that probably manages to do something that all the characters here failed to do, and that is kill Victor Crowley for good. A real shocker from Adam Green who can and should do better than this dire piece of offering…..