Tuesday, May 17, 2011

The Anti-Review: Hatchet II

Recently I watched Adam Green's Hatchet II : UNCUT AND UNRATED!! I capitalize because it appears that one needs to do so when speaking of this particular sequel.  Banished from theaters in less than 72 hours after its release, Hatchet II drew an obscene amount of controversy because of its extremely violent and overly gory content, as well as its quest to be seen in theaters uncut.

It is not my intent to ramble on about the ratings game, as in my opinion everything should get a fair shake and be released as it was intended.  If you can't deal with that, DON'T GO SEE IT!  But I will say it was ridiculous to send the film out there into theaters only to yank it before core audiences even got a chance to experience it, good or bad.

The first Hatchet (2006) was billed as "Old School American Horror" and was said to be a return to the slasher films of yore.   I didn't see it in theaters, and when I rented the DVD, I wasn't charmed to death by it either.  Some people put this movie at the top of their favorites list.  I'm just not feeling it.  I liked it well enough but not enough to rush out and buy the DVD.  And I have absolutely nothing against Adam Green.  I think he is part of the future of horror, and personally I think Frozen was one of the best films last year.  

That being said, I found nothing really astounding in Hatchet.  Creepy, disfigured, pissed-off swamp ghost aimlessly kills off a list of "unsuspecting" typical characters in medieval fashion while grunting and growling and flexing absurdly oversized muscles and a head that is a remarkable cross between Jason Voorhees (go figure) and The Elephant Man.

Hatchet II picks up exactly where we left it.  We exchange Tamara Feldman as the main character of Marybeth for Danielle Harris, which in my opinion was a decent switcharoo.  I've been watching her since way back in her Halloween 4 and 5 days, so all is well.  Tony Todd is back as well as Reverend Zombie, and this is what first  prompts me to rent it in the first place.  Naturally, we can't have Robert Englund again since he bit the big one in part one, but Kane Hodder's return will make up the difference with some unexpected dramatic moments from Inside the Actor's Studio when we flashback to the early Crowley family days.

While there is really nothing overly different about this sequel - it's still a hack-'em-up slasher flick - I found myself enjoying it about twice as much as its predecessor.  They have ratcheted up the body count and frankly, I lost count at ten.  There are many more after that, but I was too busy trying to wipe the red splatter off my flat screen.  There is so much plasma in this movie that Adam Green must have stock in Karo Syrup.
The story is a simple one.  Marybeth is out to kill Victor Crowley to avenge her father and brother's deaths and is taking her wary uncle (the great Tom Holland) and a measly group of swamp rats along to provide ole Vic with some target practice for that axe.  There are obligatory naked bodies, sex scenes, typical backwoods characters, and the expected back story that explains Victor's curse and why he is so damned pissed off all the time. 

Let me just say this.  If you like gore, this is your film.  Look no further.  If you don't mind the paper-thin plot devices that float all over this bad boy and are interested in seeing a woman get a hatchet up the backside, then by all means, click on Netflix and push it on up your queue.  I'm not quite sure to what other purpose this film was made other than to simply trump up the gruesome kills and give Kane Hodder something to do.
And was it just me or is this thing completely over-acted in every last reel? 

Generally, my hubby doesn't sit through many of these films with me, but with the gratuitous nudity that pops up without any purpose whatsoever in the first fifteen minutes, he was right there with his tongue wagging. 
Unfortunately, boobs and blood aren't always enough to keep him awake (there's this whole thing called a PLOT that he tends to favor), and he was sleeping soundly before the second half of the movie.  And yes, he can sleep through a ridiculously loud (terribly oversized) chainsaw death, with ease.

All in all, I don't like half of Hatchet II half as well as I should like; and I like less than half of Hatchet II half as well as it deserves.  Got that?  (And thank you J.R.R Tolkien for the inspiration for that line.)

And now for some random observations that don't keep me up at night.

*Tom Holland had the absolute best line in the movie:  "The only thing he's reverend of is being an asshole!"
My husband was still awake for this and will be quoting it for months I fear.

*Crowley's "unearthly" howl is like a Disney Halloween Sound Effects album from the 70's.  In fact, I think I have that exact LP.

*Tony Todd will forever be the Candyman.  I cannot (and will not) ever get past this.

*Danielle Harris overacts in this film like I've never seen her do before.  Props though, for still looking fabulous while beat to shit.  She really excels at that.

*All those swamp gators!  To me, they would be more frightening than the thought of a disfigured maniac.  Seen one of those you seen 'em all.

*Adam Green's streets of NOLA barf scene cameo was righteous!  Yum yum.  And yes, I had to tell the hubby who he was.  Sad but true.

*Kudos as well to the cameos from Shawn Ashmore and most especially Emma "I'm never going skiing again!" Bell.  Nifty.

*Cleatus? Really? How clichéd.

You can't top Zelda!
*Adam Green remarks in the extras that they were trying to have their own Zelda moment with the death of Thomas Crowley's wife. Um, you might have wanted that, but seriously dude:  no one trumps Zelda.  No one.

*Overkill by hatchet to face.  I mean, seriously?

*Propeller death. Yup, I think that's been done before.  Maybe not as explicitly as here, but nonetheless.  Nice gore, though.

*Tom Holland.  Yippee-ki-yay, motherfucker.  
Love. This. Guy.

*Episiotomy by hatchet.  I don't think that's been done before. So thanks. I guess.

*Haven't seen a curbing since American History X.  Still haven't seen one as emotionally damaging as that one was.  Doubtful if I ever will. 

*What's with all the splashing blood?  This isn't the first horror film to do this, but I have to mention how ridiculous it looks to have blood splashing about like a kid in a paddling pool.

Likewise for the flying blood.  Generally it tends to be splatter, which is conceivable.  But when it looks like someone just threw a pitcher of blood on a tree?  Gah, I don't think so. 

*And now the word in horror circles is that there are a few more Hatchet sequels coming.  And so it would seem that exactly what Adam Green was attempting to do with the first Hatchet (avoid the clutter of sequels, remakes and uninspired pieces of crap) is making a complete 180 and adding it's name to the bowels of redundant horror films that are out there right now. 
I even heard the word 3D. 
And that is where I had my own vomit-fest on the sidewalk rivaling Adam Green's puking cameo. 
Right on.

1 comment:

Budd said...

you had me at gratuitous nudity that pops up without any reason.