Cheers! Btw, I noticed that two of my reviews (Rise and Simpsons) didn't have my name attached on the main page.
From the opening moments of Adam Green's self-proclaimed "old school" horror venture "Hatchet", it would appear that the film wastes little time in getting the ball rolling, as well as the body count soaring, and with the film running in at barely eighty minutes, one is inclined to presume rightly so. Unfortunately, following the opening slaughter of a man and his son, the gore-lubricated gears of Hatchet slow down to an almighty, frustrating halt for a good while, in place of developing a tiresome, unnecessary story. Had I actually been pining for character development and a rich, deep plot, I would ostensibly have looked elsewhere.
However, it is clear from this opening scene (featuring the first of many crowd-pleasing horror-legend cameos throughout), as increasingly-voluminous buckets of blood splatter in every direction, that Hatchet is a B-movie throwback in every respect, and I use the term "throwback" with as much endearment as one can lend to an outing such as this. The characters are nothing but stock - the moronic porn stars, the socially inept nerd, the sweet middle-aged couple, and, just for kicks, even a "token black guy". That said, there is an Asian redneck-wannabe pottering around with our heroes for a decent portion of the film.
Any hint of slight promise that the film had going for it, at least for a while, is quickly squandered following the opening credits - we meet a rabble of youngsters participating in the Mardi Gras celebrations and no, before you ask, our nasty villain doesn't go around hacking up drunk, half-naked college girls for his own entertainment. Rather, and in somewhat less entertaining fashion than that premise, our boneheaded protagonists (Richmond and Moore) decide to embark upon a ghost tour, encountering a host of mysterious and shady characters (many of whom fall into the aforementioned "stock" category), and as many other clichés as can be stuffed into the film within the running time.
Criticisms aside, Hatchet isn't without its amusing moments (most of which are spouted with gusto from Richmond), it just happens that many of them are cemented within the establishing scenes which, considering the film barely runs 75 minutes without credits, are frustratingly superfluous. In fact, it is well over half-way through Hatchet before the bodies begin to mount up, although once they start, they pretty much don't stop until the final frame, literally.
Following a ridiculous escape sequence from a crocodile, and left stranded without a boat, the gravity of the hapless victim's situation is revealed, curiously explaining everything about the antagonist before his spree begins, and moreover, prior to him showing his face on-screen. It's a nice change of direction for horror films, but the accompanying story just isn't engaging enough to nail this point home - it essentially comprises of nothing more than an extremely disfigured man seeking revenge on society for how he was treated as a child.
After what seems to be an eternity, the mayhem finally begins, and it is so far beyond foul that it circles around and almost becomes clean again. Gore hounds will revel as victim after helpless victim is killed, in a multitude of violent, although largely unoriginal ways, be it simply being hacked up, impaled, de-limbed, or even, most impressively of all, having their head torn in half from the jaw upwards. The effects are by and large quite primitive, but it's just as well in adhering to the advertised tagline of "old school American horror". There appears to be little-to-no CGI in sight, and be it due to budgetary constraints, or Green truly wishing to capture the 80s feel, it works.
Whilst Hatchet descends into a gore-fest pastiche once the bodies start to hit the floor, it isn't without moments of grace - the acting, for instance, is surprisingly palatable, particularly from Tamara Feldman, convincingly portraying the determined, feisty female lead, whilst her male counterpart (Moore) is the appropriately wimpy nerd with no social (more the point, romantic) skills. Meanwhile, the true treat of the film is Deon Richmond as the wise-cracking, down-on-his-luck party animal, and dare I say "token black guy" - some of his lines are highly amusing, and you can tell that Richmond had great fun with his role (and funnily enough, he has been given such tokenism in both Scream 3 and, more outrageously, the criminally underrated Not Another Teen Movie). Even the two actresses portraying porn actresses in this film display a modicum of credibility in their delightfully moronic characters, although I will never be able to look at Mercedes McNab the same way I did when all I knew her for was The Addams Family Values. Green, who also wrote Hatchet, exhibits some occasional wit in his writing, and the majority of the sketchy dialogue is quite obviously intentional, namely espoused by the aforementioned pornographic actresses.
The film's ending is in a sense quite refreshing, refusing to descend into a cliché love story, but it is nonetheless irritating in its brevity, Green cutting us off right in the midst of the action. Nevertheless, Hatchet is in a sense post-modern horror fare - it's absolutely overflowing with clichés left and right, but Green knows this, and has great fun in exploiting this fact. Moreover, whilst it is certainly true that obscuring the antagonist in shadow and keeping him off-screen is certainly easier than dealing with him as an individual, I get the feeling that Green realises his monster is a fairly arbitrary beast, and so keeping him out of the way when he's not called upon to kill and maim is largely to the film's betterment. Hatchet doesn't teach the old dog any new tricks, but it doesn't endeavour to, and in respect to producing a fun, mindless bloodbath that will, above all else, satisfy its core audience, the film is a success.
Last edited by asdasta; 12-09-2007 at 22:37.