Writer: Adam Green
Cast: Parry Shen, Laura Ortiz, Kane Hodder, Dave Sheridan, Katie Booth, Felissa Rose, Krystal Joy Brown, Chase Williamson
Cert: 18 (tbc)
Running time: 87mins
What’s the story: The sole survivor of the Hatchet trilogy finds himself facing resurrected monster Victor Crowley, together with a film crew and student filmmakers.
But, at the request of no less a personage than the late, esteemed George A. Romero, Adam Green has revived Victor for the fans.
All done in that Blair Witch surprise announcement way, with Green’s purported recut of 2006’s Hatchet actually being a brand new movie unveiled at London’s FrightFest 2017.
How has Crowley returned? Let’s say a plot point from Sam Raimi’s The Evil Dead is revisted with a 21st century upgrade.
Following on from the events of the original trilogy (neatly recapped for newcomers during the opening credits), Victor Crowley spins two plots, converging them for Bayou-based butchery.
Plot one has Andrew Yong (Shen), sole survivor of the original Crowley massacre, eking out a living on the talk show circuit hawking his new book, I, Survivor.
And contending with a hostile public accusing him of the killings. And fans who want all manner of things autographed at book signings.
Reluctantly, Andrew agrees to fly to the scene of the killings to guest spot on a low-rent real-life crime show hosted by ex-wife Sabrina (Brown).
Meanwhile, after failing to land Andrew in a fund-raising trailer for a movie based on the murders, aspiring filmmaker and Crowley expert Chloe (Booth) takes her crew down to Louisiana to shoot the trailer anyway. Joining her is boyfriend Alex (Williamson), BFF Rose (Ortiz) and local actor Dillon (Sheridan).
When Andrew’s plane goes down, in a set-piece suggesting Green has ambitions for higher-budgeted films, the two groups unite to battle the revived, typically sore-headed Crowley.
Hatchet is the quintessential six-pack-and-takeaway-with-mates slasher franchise. Made by a director who knows when to hit audiences with gore or a guffaw.
In a pre-credits sequence best described as American Pie meets Friday the 13th, Green does both. For the first 30 minutes his script delivers so many decent laughs, the writer/director should seriously consider penning straight up comedies.
With characters moved into position, the film keeps the action restricted to within the downed plane or a few swamp-based locations. Better to present audiences with well-staged, precision-timed gore du force.
A scene with a motion sensor light switching on and off is text book suspense stuff. Suggesting Green, along with those comedies, should also try out a straight thriller.
Expertly treading the thin red line between gleeful splatter and grim evisceration, the director is a dab-hand at meeting and beating fan expectations. He may also be enacting a public catharsis, having stated he made the film when emerging from depression.
As with other Hatchet movies, Victor Crowley’s characters are so likeable it’s a genuine shame when they start getting offed. But, Green’s script missteps with the death of a character primed to be a rescued for good reason, only to die in what seems like a cheap “gotcha” moment.
Shen is an effective lead, ably backed up by Sarah Michelle Gellar-alike Ortiz, lead actress in Green’s cult TV series Holliston. Sheridan gives good Bruce Campbell as the doofus Dillon and Hodder brings his muscular performance style as the titular terror. In a wonderful piece of casting, Sleepaway Camp’s Felissa Rose appears as Andrew’s shrill, scene-stealing agent.
Green has said he doesn’t want to make a career of endless Hatchet sequels. And we want to see other horrors (and comedies and thrillers) from him. But, one Crowley movie every five years or so would be good six-pack and pizza nights-in to remember.