Reviewed by

Christopher Armstead

So I was talking on the phone to my older brother who when we were kids, or when I was a kid and he was a teenager, he used to drag me along to whatever movie he wanted to see as a form of ‘keeping an eye’ on his little brother.  ‘Terror Train’, ‘Prom Night’ ‘Happy Birthday to Me’, ‘Zombi’ – the lady getting the splinter in her eyeball is forever burned in my adolescent mind.  One could argue that this is stuff an eleven year old shouldn’t be watching, but it was the early 80’s and nobody really gave a damn about the negative effects of teenagers getting slaughtered, while having sex, might have on a young developing mind.  Anyway I was telling him about the new horror movie released by Anchor Bay called ‘Hatchet’, knowing he’s a lover of the genre, and telling him he may want to run on down the multi and check it out.  I was attempting to explain to the now old man that it has some of the most horrific scenes of grotesquery (I had no idea that was a real word) that I had ever seen and it had me cracking up.  Confused, the conversation went like this
Old Bro: Is it horror film?
Younger Smarter Handsomer Bro: Oh yeah. 
Old Bro: Then why were you cracking up.
Younger Smarter Handsomer Bro: Because it was funny bro.
Old Bro:  Horror movies aren’t funny – was it supposed to be funny? 
Younger Smarter Handsomer Bro:  I guess man, just go see the damn movie and get off my back!
This is why I don’t talk to the dude no more.  I try to help him out and get interrogated for my kindness.  Damn.

It doesn’t take long into ‘Hatchet’ to figure what kind of flick this is going to be as we meet a old father (Robert Englund) and his slow witted son hunting gators in the Louisiana Bayou.  Within minutes following their witty repartee we see the dad gutted on the shore and the son completely obliterated with our unseen villain ripping out his spine, splitting the young man in two and then smashing him to bits against a tree.  All in pristine graphic detail.  Soon we are introduced to Ben (Joel Moore) who is at Mardi Gras with his college buddies which include Marcus (Deon Richmond) as the wisecracking Black guy destined to die – or maybe not.  They are on college break – I’m thinking non-traditional students here – trying to help Ben get over the break up with his long time girlfriend.  Ben though is finding the drunk, titty flashing hotties not up his alley and instead has heard about the haunted swamp tours and wants to try that instead.  Marcus thinks he’s a plum fool, as do I, but he decides to stick with his homey regardless.  They approach the shop owned by the Candy Man himself (Tony Todd) who overacts in his cameo for a moment or two, then sends them to a shop owned by the Asian Cajun Shawn (Parry Shen) who takes our pairs forty bucks, and along with his other passengers, who include and older dude and his wife, two hotties and their handy cam video producer and a Bayou native and who I’m thinking is going to be our hero girl Mary Beth (Tamara Feldman), and off they go on the stolen ferry to the forbidden parts of the swamp.

To make a short story long, the ferry beaches itself, Mary Beth tells one of those legendary stories about the horrible thing that happened their involving the disfigured Victor Crowley, our team travels deep into the swamp only to meet Mr. Crowley live and in person, and witness his severe lack of social grace as he takes his hatchet, hands, feet, spear, or whatever he has handy at the time and one by one begins to brutally, and without prejudice, eliminate our crew.  The question that remains is will those that survive be able to put a stop to the terror known as Victor Crowley?

Right off the bat I’ll let you know I absolutely loved this movie.  At its core ‘Hatchet’ is a comedy, and a good one at that with lots of humor and silliness which may not sit well with the hardcore horror fiends.  Personally, considering the number of incredibly lame horror flicks I’ve seen at the theater and Direct to Video, it was a pleasure to watch something as unapologetically vile, reprehensible, and as glorifying in its goryness as this was, but still very amusing and as entertaining as ‘Hatchet’ turned out to be.  Oh did I mention there was gore?  Don’t be surprised if you watch this at a theater and all you hear is ‘Dayummmm!!!! OH MY GOD!!! and EWWWWW!!! through the numerous scenes of death and mayhem.  I’m thinking that director Adam Green only put in enough characters for ways that he could think of how to kill them, and they do die in numerous and varied horrific ways.  So if you’re in the mood for a limb ripping comedy that doesn’t take itself all that serious, but serious enough to completely disgust you, then you can’t do any better than ‘Hatchet’ for my money.

SPOILER:  So when I saw the Black Guy destined to die, I was getting concerned because it was looking like he was going to make it totally blowing up Horror Movie Rule 1:  If you have a Black Guy in your Horror Movie, he must die in sacrifice to the greater good.  Well, he did die in sacrifice to the greater the good, but as it turns out death was not to be avoided.  For anyone.  END SPOILER.

Real Time Web