If brevity is the soul of wit, then this was one of the most soulful movie experiences I’ve had in a long time. The concept was short and sweet: clap trap grab bag of unique and varied characters get stranded in the swamp and chased by an unstoppable, murder fueled, hatchet wielding monster. Boom. You don’t even have to see the movie now! You’ve got the whole plot right there.
… kidding! Seriously, if that’s all there was to the movie I wouldn’t have bothered with the review. Do you even know me at all?? No, Hatchet was inspired by teen slasher flicks of the 80s; light on the character development, heavy on the boobs and gore. Basically, my favorite kind of movie. I loved this movie the same way one might love a deformed pet. You love it in spite of, or even because of, its shortcomings. To you it’s perfect and you wouldn’t change a thing about it, but not everyone might see what you see.
And speaking of deformed pets, lets talk about Victor Crowley, a.k.a. Hatchet-Face! This guy had a rough childhood. He was born a grotesquely misshapen creature, raised in solitude in the bayou of Louisiana by his single father. Any trip into town or interaction with the locals was met with taunts, ridicule, and worse. Long story murdery, Victor accidentally gets chopped in the face by his own dad with a hatchet and burned alive. And so it goes that his restless spirit has haunted the swamp ever since, looking to sow his terrible vengeance on anyone unlucky enough to cross his path.
That’s the villain’s backstory. What about the heroes? Well like I said, an assorted mix of entertaining characters end up on a low budget swamp tour during the middle of Mardi Gras. They all have different reasons for being there, but the two main guys are college aged friends visiting town for Karneval, Ben and Marcus. Ben (Joel David Moore of Grandma’s Boy and Dodgeball fame) has been recently dumped by his long term girlfriend, and Marcus (Deon Richmond from Van Wilder) brought him to the big easy to get a new perspective on his life and the breakup.
There’s also a wannabe “Girls Gone Wild” producer, a couple of wannabe “Girls Gone Wild” girls (not complaining), a suspicious loner, an older married couple on vacation, and a tour guide who might not be everything he seems…
Anyway, that means plenty of meat fodder for the horror machine, and baby do they deliver! It’s got an amazing throwback feel to the golden age of scary movies, which is certainly a product of the limited budget they were working with. But the filmmakers took that weakness and turned it into a strength, delivering some of the best kill shots I’ve seen since the days of Dead Alive! It was surprising how many actors you may recognize depending on your own cinema experience, but believe me they could have done a whole lot worse. I thought everyone held their own, and had fun making a film that was clearly a labor of love for those involved.
Like most of my strongest movie recommendations, this movie is not for everyone. Some of the jokes fall flat, the pacing can feel a little off, and the gore is absolutely over the top. If any of that sounds like a deal breaker, you should probably go right ahead and pass on this feature. But if you’re in the mood for boobs, blood, and backwoods hijinks, then queue this sonnabitch up on Netflix!
Have you seen the movie? What did you think about it? Let me know in the comments below!