Film: Hatchet 2
UK Release date: Out now
Director: Adam Green
Starring: Danielle Harris, Kane Hodder, Tony Todd, Tom Holland, R.A. Mihailoff
Running time: 90 mins
Reviewer: Adam Wing
Back in 2006 Adam Green made a name for himself with the release of 80’s horror homage, Hatchet. The reviews were largely positive, supported by a cast of legendary horror icons - including Kane Hodder, Robert Englund and Tony Todd - plenty of disposable teens and a whole host of gruesome set pieces. Green went on to write and direct Frozen, a classy little thriller set on a ski lift, and a promising sign of things to come. Now he returns to the Louisiana swamps to continue his twisted tale of titillation and torment. Hodder and Todd are along for the ride once more, with newbie scream queen Danielle Harris (Halloween) taking over from Tamara Feldman as the put upon teen Marybeth.
Picking up where the original ended, Marybeth escapes the clutches of the deformed, swamp-dwelling killer Victor Crowley, who looks more and more like Sloth’s Hillbilly cousin every day. After learning the truth about her family's connection to the hatchet-wielding madman, Marybeth returns to the swamps with an army of hunters (disposable fodder) to recover the bodies of her family (it’s a stretch) and get a little pay back along the way. Which is just another excuse for buckets of blood, relentless violence, occasional nudity and horror icon cameos aplenty. Green throws in a little back-story this time out, and more revealing perhaps, he also adds his name to the title; it now reads Adam Green’s Hatchet 2. There’s nothing like a little self-importance Adam, but you might want to hold off on the self-appreciation a little while longer.
I wasn’t a big fan of the original movie, but Frozen was certainly a step in the right direction, serving up a bucket load of tension with a side order of wince-inducing gore. Hatchet 2 sticks to the horror sequel template by throwing in an obligatory back-story and ramping up the gloopy gore to maximum effect. We might as well start with the killings, because there’s not a lot else going on in these backwater swamps.
Adam Green has really gone to town on this one, drowning the screen in blood and - somewhat inevitably - doubling the films kill-rate. The opening ten minutes really set the scene, making it abundantly clear what to expect from the rest of the movie. It’s a ridiculous introduction, wallowing in cheap thrills that go for the gut - quite literally - but offer nothing new. The kills are largely uninspired this time round, but they’re certainly plentiful. Victims are smashed to a bloody pulp - repeatedly - all in the name of entertainment, and I’m sorry to say that it all grows tiresome really quickly.
Hodder does well with his dual-roles, and it’s always nice to see Tony Todd make an appearance. Danielle Harris on the other hand is largely wasted as the leading lady, only really called upon to exact bloody retribution in the final act, but she makes the most of her limited screen time with wide-eyed - not to mention bloodthirsty - enthusiasm. Crowley spends the majority of the movie stalking the new recruits and dispensing with them in a series of dreary, dim-witted and wearisome ways.
The new characters add very little to the mix, on hand solely to provide Green with the ammunition he needs to show off his casually convincing FX work. There’s not a memorable moment between them, and Green has seen fit to drop the frat-boy humour of the original in favour of no laughs at all. The final smack down is almost worth the wait though, with Hatchet 2 ending on an over-indulgent high note of cinematic excess.
If Hatchet was homage to the 80’s slasher movie, Hatchet 2 is a fitting tribute to the inferior sequels that followed. Lacking in invention and wit, Adam Green’s second instalment ups the gore-factor ten-fold but loses every ounce of playful charm. Not even the gloriously gory denouement was able to wet my appetite for Hatchet 3, maybe that should read Adam Green’s Hatchet 3, there’s a chance he’ll be struggling for work after this.