Hatchet (2006)

hatchet poster 2006 movie
6.0 Overall Score
Story: 5/10
Acting: 5/10
Visuals: 7/10

Some really gory deaths

Attempt to make a throwback film ended up with a lot of throwback cliches

Movie Info

Movie Name:  Hatchet

Studio:  ArieScope Pictures/High Seas Entertainment/Radioaktive Film

Genre(s):  Horror/B-Movie

Release Date(s):  April 27, 2006 (Tribeca Film Festival)/September 7, 2007 (US)

MPAA Rating:  R

hatchet victor crowley head tear kane hodder

There are easier ways to open a mouth

Ben (Joel Moore) is getting over being dumped by his girlfriend as his friends celebrate Mardi Gras in New Orleans.  Convincing his friend Marcus (Deon Richmond) to go with him on a swamp tour, Ben finds he is getting more from the voodoo tour than he expected.  The legend of Victor Crowley (Kane Hodder) might be true, and Victor is hunting the tourists.  Ben, Marcus, and a girl named Marybeth (Tamara Feldman) who has her own reasons for being on the tour must fight for survival and try to escape the swamp.

Directed by Adam Green, Hatchet is a horror slasher movie.  The film made the festival tours especially focusing on the horror festivals.  The movie was received well by fans of horror but had so-so reviews from critics.  Hatchet also was the last film to shoot in New Orleans before Hurricane Katrina struck in August 2005.

Hatchet was a random purchase when I found it at the now defunct Frye’s for a super-cheap price.  Watching Hatchet, it is a fun throwback to 1980s horror slasher movies, but I do wish that the script had updated and modified the format a bit.

hatchet kane hodder victor crowley

Who can turn the world on with his smile?

There is nothing PG-13 about Hatchet.  This was the go-to aspect of many horror movies following Scream (which ironically was not PG-13) when they realized PG-13 horror movies could make a ton of money.  Hatchet reverses this trend with gratuitous nudity and gore…while it might not be the most original approach to a horror film, it is kind of refreshing to have a straight-up slasher movie that is a nice blend of gross-out and jump scares.  Hatchet isn’t afraid to let the blood fly and is unapologetic about it.  The goal was to make a classic slasher film, and they made a good effort to do it.

Unfortunately, the movie’s story is pretty cliché and once the characters are stuck in the swamp, they run out of things to do.  The effects of the film are practical and quite effective as Victor (who is a pretty good Jason-esque slasher) tears his way through people in a bloody mess.  With such a great location rather squandered on dark and claustrophobic scenes, I wish Hatchet had used New Orleans and the swamps better.  It sometimes was a bit difficult to tell what is going on.  The movie features one of the most abrupt endings I have ever seen…It isn’t uncommon to do the attack “freeze” like the original Friday the 13th, but here it freezes even before you’d expect (or want it)…setting up the sequel.

hatchet body jaw ripped off

My jaw is on the floor…(no seriously, my jaw fell off onto the floor)

Kane Hodder makes a good horror beast.  Crawley is a worthy horror monster that would have fared well in the ’80s from which this movie springs.  Hodder of course made his name by playing Jason in many of the Friday the 13th films and here he is joined by other horror stars Robert Englund (A Nightmare on Elm Street) and Tony Todd (Candyman).  The actors playing the “victims” aren’t very distinctive, though I do like the film better before all of the supporting members of the tour are killed off…I wish they had kept some of them around longer for even bigger and better kills.

Hatchet almost works.  It is a movie that kind of leans toward The Evil Dead more so than slasher flicks for inspiration by having over the top violence presented in a humorous style.  This is such a tricky balance that it is hard for a movie to find that balance…Hatchet gets close but doesn’t get past just feeling goofy.  Hatchet was followed by Hatchet II in 2010.

Author: JPRoscoe View all posts by
Follow me on Twitter/Instagram/Letterboxd @JPRoscoe76! Loves all things pop-culture especially if it has a bit of a counter-culture twist. Plays video games (basically from the start when a neighbor brought home an Atari 2600), comic loving (for almost 30 years), and a true critic of movies. Enjoys the art house but also isn't afraid to let in one or two popular movies at the same time.

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