30 October 2011 | StevePulaski
Starting to develop an unwanted modern presence
The original Hatchet film was not perfect as much as it was a breath of fresh air to viewers who were bored and disgusted with Michael Bay's remakes. Hatchet II further expands the story of Victor Crowley but does it in such a way that is becomes tiresome. Adam Green, an honestly admirable director, is also considering making two more sequels to follow this one. Unless he can find a way to successfully add more to the storyline, it might just be load, aim, reiterate.
Green directed one of my favorite films of 2010, Frozen. It's one I've continually referenced, and have stated that it could very well be one of the best claustrophobic horror films ever made. Even with a limited release it stood out as the best of its kind in a year that was filled with bigger successes like Buried and The Night Chronicles: Devil. Even in the original Hatchet, Green put his actors and actresses to good use, just like in Frozen. He can effectively get the most out of his actors and his script which is something more directors need to accommodate.
But the problem in Hatchet II is hard to define. It seems uninspired, bleak, and starting to enter the world of modern horror. The original film creatively invented its tagline stated it was "OLD SCHOOL American HORROR" while Hatchet II doesn't boast the same concept. It just seems like now that it's on the map, it's becoming more of a modern horror series rather than an old school series.
The film picks up immediately where the original left off. Marybeth (now played by Danielle Harris rather than by Tamara Feldman like the original) barely escapes an encounter with Victor Crowley, and is rescued by a creepy fisherman named Jack Cracker (Buechler). After learning her last name and recalling the history, he throws her out of his cabin leading Marybeth to seek help from Rev. Zombie (Todd). Zombie tells Marybeth the history of her father and Victor Crowley, and sets up an expedition to find the beast. Whoever kills the monster will be award $5,000.
My favorite character was probably Colton Dunn who provided comic-relief with his token black guy schtick. Normally, I disapprove of comedy being in a horror film, but the original had its share of goofy humor and, as I recall, some of the early slashers had little ounces of comedy to occupy them. Not enough to be called the dreadful "comedy-horror," but enough to satisfy. Dunn provided a likable persona, up until he was slaughtered in seconds.
Hatchet II is fast paced, but lacks suspense. Much of the woodsy scenery is back, which gives the film a plus, but nothing is truly built up as much as it is just a strong musical chord causing us to jump. The gore is back, and still Green hasn't used a touch of CGI from what I can tell. The gruesome element is still here, and some of the deaths are just mean-spirited and nasty. Nothing wrong with that.
The gore is doubled, just like the title, and it seems that if there's any reason to watch Hatchet II is because of the grotesque killings Green has thought up. The storyline is nice, but unnecessary. They're fueling a character that is rather simple with a lot of grimy backstory that truly isn't needed. I like information in films, I like quite a lot of it. I'm not saying the premise is complex, it's just bloated and rather cliché.
Horror icon Kane Hodder is one of the few people that reprises his role. He plays Victor Crowley, and does it with loads of makeup and energy. Hodder has most always been the highlight of every film he was in, and is probably the best person who ever sunk his feet in Jason Voorhees' shoes.
Hatchet II is short and sweet, and doesn't make you feel your time was robbed. The creativity is there, but its purpose and roots are starting to diminish. We could see the obligatory sequel(s) coming a mile away, but just because there are sequels, doesn't mean we have to grown at them. Adam Green should remind us that.
Starring: Danielle Harris, Tony Todd, Kane Hodder, Parry Shen, Tom Holland, R.A. Mihailoff, Colton Dunn, and AJ Bowen. Directed by: Adam Green.