Plot: The swamps near New Orleans are home to some eerie locals legends, but few are as chilling as the saga of Victor Crowley. As he was super ugly, Victor was bullied and tormented by others, which escalated into accidental arson that left him scarred up and uglier than ever. Some locals claim he still wanders the swamp, like an even uglier Shrek and eager to spill blood in the name of vengeance. Or at least this is all what some tourists are told when they sign up for a haunted swamp tour, one that winds up going about as wrong as possible. The boat gets stuck, then sinks, and when the tourists go ashore to head back, it becomes clear they’re not alone in the bayou. But are the legends of Victor and his murderous ways just a local superstition or are these tourists about to meet him in person?
Entertainment Value: A tribute to 80s horror, Hatchet makes no effort to be original or inventive, but it does provide a suitable love letter to the genre. The movie is slow to start, but soon picks up and once we reach the swamp, the pace is brisk and never slows down. The journey to that point is rather tedious, with a host of lame jokes and dull characters, but all that just makes us want to see these douches splayed and flayed all the more. The violence is fun and splashed with blood soaked practical effects, all of which are well crafted and effective. Victor Crowley is more or less a patchwork villain, sewing bits and pieces of established monsters together and that’s fine, given that the movie is quite open about being a tribute, rather than a fresh take. So the hunt is the core of the movie and that works quite well, but outside of the stalking and violence, there’s not much to talk about. The victims are bland, paper thin fodder, just waiting on Victor, which is fine, but I wouldn’t have minded some colorful, memorable meatbags thrown in to keep things fun. I wouldn’t mind the lack of depth if it wasn’t for the first act, which wallows in exposition, but yields little entertainment or seeds that blossom later in the movie. I still think Hatchet is a fine tribute to 80s horror, but outside of the gore, it isn’t that memorable.
A couple of girls are topless a couple of times, but that’s all the nakedness. I would have loved more sleaze, given the 80s slant, but I didn’t mind that bloodshed took the focus off the other genre staples. I loved the gore in this one, as once the movie finally starts to roll, the blood is frequent and glorious. The practical effects are remarkable and a lot of fun to watch, with limb removals, decapitations, impalement, hack jobs, skull splitting, and of course, a corkscrew dome treatment. The gore is high impact, vivid, and by far the best part of Hatchet. The dialogue doesn’t fare as well, with dull characters and jokes that try way too hard. I would have loved some wild, colorful roles here, instead of generic ones, but it is what it is. The banter between the model wannabes was a bright spot, but the rest of the humor falls flat. As for craziness, the gore racks up a point, but otherwise, this is well worn, within the lines stuff.
Overall Insanity: 1/10
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