The Bottom Line
- Glorious splatter gore.
- Great sense of humor.
- Well-written dialogue.
- Terrible ending.
- Tony Todd's Jamaican accent.
- Starring Joel David Moore, Deon Richmond, Mercedes McNab, Tony Todd, Robert Englund, Kane Hodder, Tamara Feldman
- Directed by Adam Green
- Rated R
- DVD Release Date: December 18, 2007
Guide Review - 'Hatchet' DVD Review
Hatchet touts itself as "old school American horror," a pretty meaningless tag, given a large part of what makes movies "old school" is the fact that they were made 20-plus years ago. As Grindhouse made painfully clear, trying too hard to be vintage leads to a forced, desperate end product. Thankfully, Hatchet is not nearly as literal in its attempt to create a "back in the day" vibe. Instead, it focuses on the spirit of '80s slashers to produce a shallow, cartoonishly gory, hella fun ride.
Although the overall plot is cookie-cutter horror -- a tour group stranded in a swamp haunted by a deformed killer -- the film's strength lies in its writing. The dialogue, written by director Adam Green, is funnier than most straightforward comedies, using the inadequacies of geeky hero Ben (Joel David Moore) and the R-rated antics of a couple of airheads (Mercedes McNab and Joleigh Fioreavanti) as jumping-off points for hilarity. Of course, the humor wouldn't work without a solid cast with great comedic timing -- including veteran character actors Richard Riehle, Patrika Darbo and Deon Richmond, whose gut-busting delivery steals the movie.
The other thing that separates Hatchet from other independent slashers is the over-the-top "splatter" gore. At times owing as much to the blood-strewn samurai movies that Quentin Tarantino referenced in Kill Bill as '80s slashers, Hatchet revels in a gleeful excess that all but guarantees cult status. It's this camp appeal that allows us to overlook the fact that the killer, Victor Crowley (Kane Hodder), is actually not that scary and looks more like the Elephant Man than a traditional "old school" slasher villain.
The special features include several behind-the-scenes featurettes (with a peek at the gore wizardry), bloopers and audio commentary from Green, Moore, Richmond and others.