Hatchet II (2010)

I admire Adam Green's pure, unadulterated enthusiasm for the horror genre more than I do his actual movies.  That love of classic '80s slashers is there in the Hatchet series, but so is the need to do the Scream thing and be snidely clever about it as well.  Problem is, while Green knows what he is doing with horror and, on an extremely small budget, has managed some great gore effects, his comedy leaves a bit to be desired.  In Hatchet that took up way too much of the time, and it didn't help that I couldn't wait for the characters to die. 

Four years later Green released a sequel, which despite the gap in real time begins the moment the first movie left off.  Marybeth Dunston (Amara Zaragoza) had joined a sketchy swamp tour in order to get to Honey Island Swamp, a section closed off to the public, to find out what happened to her father and brother, and she does find out the hard way.  Victor Crowley (Kane Hodder), angry that outsiders have trespassed in his territory, kills everyone and, at the very end when it looks like Marybeth has escaped, he comes for her as well.

The second movie starts with Marybeth (Danielle Harris) escaping from Crowley when she is pulled from the water by a man named Jack Cracker (John Carl Buechler), who regrets it once he finds out who she is.  It turns out her father was one of the kids that threw firecrackers at the Crowley house, causing Victor's death.  He throws her out telling her to seek out the help of Reverend Zombie (Tony Todd) if she wants help finding the bodies of her kin.

The Reverend is the owner of a kitschy Voodoo shop, and also happens to be the owner of the boat from the first movie.  Together with Justin (Parry Shen) he puts together a group of men to accompany him and Marybeth back into the swamp.  One of those that come with them is Marybeth's Uncle Bob (Tom Holland), who doesn't trust Reverend Zombie and thinks that going back is a bad idea.  He is right, of course, because the search only brings Victor's wrath once again. 

The whole point of Hatchet II is Green seeing what he can get away with in the gore department.  There is still some comedy, but in most cases it works since it doesn't overpower the fun of watching a great effects team have at enjoying what they love to do.  He also wisely remembers the lessons of some of this favorite films, which is that over-the-top unrealistic gore can be just as hilarious and cracking a joke. 

Hodder plays duel roles, both as Victor and Victor's father, and of course he is the highlight of the film.  Danielle Harris could be better, but luckily there is Tony Todd gleefully stealing the spotlight from everyone.  In true Green fashion he also fills up the movie with his heroes: R.A. Mihailoff, who plays Trent and has a wonderful extended fight with Crowley, played Leatherface in the third Texas Chainsaw installment.  Tom Holland is the director of such classic films as Fright Night and Child's Play, while John Carl Buechler is a legendary effects artist.  Surprisingly they can all act as well. 

I still wouldn't say this is my favorite series.  I have seen Victor Crowley, the final entry as of now, and it had many of the problems of Hatchet.  I am hoping that Green took a bit more inspiration from this for the third movie. 

Hatchet II (2010)
Time: 85 minutes
Starring: Danielle Harris, Tony Toddy, Tom Holland, Kane Hodder
Director: Adam Green 


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