Back in 2006 I had the great pleasure of viewing Hatchet in theaters, something not many people can claim. At the time, I had an immense amount of fun with the flick. Whether it was the movie, the film festival, or Kane Hodder sitting behind me like a behemoth, I was into it.
Press fast forward on the button of life and it’s 2010 and this “old school American horror” flick is available in the high definition Blu-ray format, courtesy of Anchor Bay. If you’re unfamiliar with the title, Adam Green’s first foray into features follows a group of young twenty-somethings, and a few older folks, as they journey into the swamps of Louisiana on a haunted tour. As any learned horror fan would expect, soon things go south and Victor Crowley, the local boogey man, is tearing them limb from limb.
Part of the reason I initially dug this film was the high body count: eleven dead. Now that doesn’t really compare to some of the bloodier Friday the 13th films, but when you consider there are really only like 14 people with names in the film, that’s a damn good total.
Hatchet has no problem spraying geysers of the stuff across the screen and Mr. Crowley (Hatchet Face to his friends) is definitively not a fan of limbs, going to great lengths to remove them with his bare hands, or a shovel, or a hatchet. We see plenty of guts, tons of blood, several arms ripped off, and a foot chopped off. An alligator takes a bite out of a senior citizen, a dude is hatcheted into pieces, a few bodies are impaled, a head is chopped open, a head is ripped open at the jaw, and a woman deep tongue kisses a belt sander with unsexy results. Just kidding. It’s real sexy.
Right off the bat we get at least six pairs of Mardi Gras boobies, followed shortly by three or more pairs of tits that would have been better suited to staying in their shirts. Throughout the remainder of the film there are glimpses of “Bayou Beaver” girls who flash the camera four or so times. Not a bad amount of boobage, but nothing excessive or overly titillating. Heh.
Don’t go into the swamp at night. Stay out of areas closed due to high incidences of tourist murder. Like Mexico.
I really expected to pop in Hatchet on Blu-ray and just relive the awesomeness, but I’m sad to say that I was far less enamored with Green’s debut this time around. There is plenty to like as the film paints by the correct numbers to hit the slasher film sweet spots (boobs, blood), but it did start off a lot slower than I remembered.
The film clocks in at an appropriate 84 minutes, though even at this short length meanders and drags here and there. When the kills do come, though, it’s pretty much slasher heaven, which is an easy place to gain entry to when you have veteran Kane Hodder playing both Victor Crowley and Mr. Crowley Sr. Hodder doesn’t actually get to speak any words, which sucks, but his facial expressions speak volumes. For a man known almost entirely for his masked roles, Hodder is a more than competent actor who sells the heartbreak of Crowley Sr.
While not perfect and not quite the film I remembered, Hatchet is still a pretty entertaining ride, especially when viewed through the correct glasses. After all, this is a low budget movie that, for most of the world, went straight to DVD. That considered, the film packs some decent star power, a lot of great kills, a ton of blood, and has it’s heart in the right place.
Back when the film first came out we were inundated with sequels, remakes, and imports. Hatchet said “Fuck that, let’s do it 80s style.” And it succeeded in capturing the essence of the decade it wanted to emulate. Victor Crowley is a character that can, probably, support a franchise, something he’ll be given the chance to do with the upcoming release of Hatchet II. His backstory is sufficiently sad, he’s portrayed by an excellent character actor, and his method of execution is varied and entertaining. I’m down with Hatchetface.
In terms of the Blu-ray itself, the transfer is descent. You won’t pop this into your player to wow your friends with the clarity that is Blu-ray, so DVD owners might not want to upgrade. The picture quality increase probably isn’t worth the cost. In terms of extras, the Blu-ray offers an all-new commentary with writer/director Adam Green and the legendary Kane Hodder. Also on the disc are some recycled features, including an older commentary, a making of, a gag reel, and a few cool features on Crowley, gore, and the kills of the film.
All in all this is a well put together disc for someone who doesn’t already own Hatchet. If you’ve never seen the film, it’s definitely worth a viewing. Hatchet is available now on Blu-ray for around $20 though, upon this viewing (which is my second or third), I think I’m going to say go ahead and rent this one rather than shelling out the cash, unless you’ve already seen it and love it. That said, it’s a decent flick and I’m excited for the sequel later this year.