Tuesday, February 5, 2008

HATCHET (2007) d. Adam Green

Reviewed by Simon Oakland

Guy goes to Mardi Gras to forget longtime girlfriend, goes on a ghost tour through the bayou and runs up against your typical, run-of-the-mill, southern, backwoods, inbred, serial killer.

HATCHET has a lot of good things going for it, but indecision on the filmmakers part about which direction to take the movie ultimately dooms it to failure. Despite marketing it as "Old School American Horror", it's far too modern day "tongue-in-cheek" in it's sensibilities to be considered a true throwback to '80s slasher films. In fact, for roughly the first half of it's running time it's a fairly successful road trip comedy, and I was kind of into it, but when the killer finally makes an appearance and the red stuff really begins flowing it only served to run the train off the tracks (so to speak). Yes, the gore was impressive (albeit over the top) but the killer was far too generic/derivative (Inbred backwoods mutant man: Gee, I've never seen THAT before!) to be either scary or interesting. Plus, the immortality of Victor Crowley is completely unbelievable, even by "old school" slasher standards. By the time the credits rolled I was left disappointed, unfulfilled and a tad bit angry at the direction it went (south) after a promising first half. Too bad. It had such potential. As much of a horror fanatic as I am, I feel HATCHET would have played a lot better with those elements removed, and if writer/director Adam Green stuck strictly to the comedy which he so obviously has a much firmer grasp of.

But anyways, if you want to see some fairly spectacular gore, a fantastic cameo by Tony Todd as Reverend Zombie, and Mercedes McNab (Harmony of Buffy/Angel fame) topless, check it out. Those are about the only three reasons I could ever see myself watching HATCHET a second time for.



Mark said...

As a counterpoint, I must say that I had a good time with HATCHET. I think this one would work best in a group viewing, with everyone "Ooohhhhh!!"ing at the wonderfully horriffic death scenes. I know a lot of people have the same issues with HATCHET that you did, but it worked for me, for whatever reason. I wouldn't put HATCHET up there with the greats of 80s Slasherdom, but it certainly wouldn't have felt out of place as one of those $.99 rentals I took a chance on in high school and had a fun time with.

SFS editor

Saturday Fright Special said...

Well, I'll admit that me and the missus had a good time watching it, at least during the first two thirds. It has some merit, but I really don't think it would hold up to a second viewing. I have my doubts that it would work best with a group, mainly because if everybody goes in expecting to see a gory bloodbath, you may find that a large portion of that group will become rather impatient waiting for one. Nothing violent happens (opening sequence excluded) for about 50 minutes, and if I recall correctly it's only an 80 minute movie to begin with.

The tagline "Old School American Horror" may have been used partly in jest, but really, I didn't get that feeling at all. If you want to watch a far more successful, modern day horror comedy that better captures that '80s slasher vibe, then I would have to recommend seeing CLUB DREAD instead (I know you already have, I'm just speaking in general terms).