Hatchet II (2010)

Crimson Quill’s Appraisal #99

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Number of Views: Two
Release Date: August 26, 2010 (Frightfest), October 1, 2010 (US)
Sub-Genre: Slasher
Country of Origin: United States
Budget: $800,000
Running Time: 85 minutes
Director: Adam Green
Producers: Derek Curl, Sarah Elbert, Cory Neal
Screenplay: Adam Green
Narrator: Tony Todd
Special Effects: Tom Ceglia, Anthony Ceglia, Travis Rhodes
Score: John Williams
Cinematography: Will Barratt
Editing: Ed Marx
Studios: Dark Sky Films, ArieScope Pictures
Distributor: Dark Sky Films
Stars: Danielle Harris, Tony Todd, Parry Shen, Tom Holland, RA Mihailoff, AJ Bowen, Alexis Peters, Ed Ackerman, David Foy, Colton Dunn, Rick McCallum, John Carl Buechler, Kathryn Fiore and Kane Hodder as Victor Crowley

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Suggested Audio Candy:

Overkill Old School

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Back in 2006 Adam Green took some pretty confident first strides as a horror filmmaker. Previously he had been responsible mainly for cable commercials, the exception being his first full-length feature, Coffee & Donuts. His first foray into horror struck an instant chord with slasher aficionados desperate for an iconic killer to root for, having had woefully slim-pickings for over two decades. Hatchet was an affectionate throwback to the golden era of slasher that wore any influences proudly on its sleeve and had a rich vein of dark humor running through its core.

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It paid affectionate homage to its countless inspirations and featured enough murder, death, and kill to satisfy even the most ravenous of Grueheads. While Victor Crowley didn’t quite do sufficient to warrant that prestigious seat in the hallowed hall of legends, he did more than enough to afford himself another bite of the cherry. Four years later his eagerly awaited follow-up arrived; promising more of the same which is all I had ever hoped for. Anything else would be a distinct bonus but, as long as there was splatter on platter, I’d be happier than a boar in a bayou. Having just watched his ravenous sequel, I have only one thing to say, that being oink!

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Right off the bat, we are fed like the expectant chirping baby birds that we are. Then, once Crowley regains his stride after his four-year hiatus, we are made to feel positively gluttonous, such is the spread of sumptuous gore laid out before us like a virgin on a slab. Hatchet’s sole survivor Marybeth, originally played by Tamara Feldman, has now been replaced by salacious scream-queen Danielle Harris, with absolutely no quibbles from this corner. Our heroine plucks up the courage to revisit those murky swamps once more, only this time wisely surrounded by a little more firepower and good old Southern hospitality. Joined by a band of redneck rebels who spend more time discharging phlegm than they do making conversation , and good old Uncle Bob (the legendary Tom Holland), the mob leave the comfort of their trailer parks behind to have a shot at being the one that bagged Crowley (Kane Hodder). Not the sharpest tools in the shed this lot.

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Green again takes his sweet time rallying the troops before hitting Crowley’s quagmire playground. Like its predecessor, Hatchet II takes a rather patient approach, giving ample time to get a flavor for each character, for what that’s worth. Ultimately, we know how it is destined to end for this inharmonious posse of muttonheads but the journey is one we are geared up to take. Once deep within the woodlands, we’re in recognizable territory, as Victor gets to work on them in all manner of outrageous ways. Body parts stray from their sockets, blood sprays in every conceivable direction and, all the while, Green’s tongue remains snugly planted in his cheek. The director gleefully throws in the kitchen sink with regards to the claret, finding inventive new ways to do away with each of these bumbling simpletons in turn, often while in considerably compromising positions.

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Speaking of compromising positions, I can think of a few that I would gladly try out with Harris, and doggy style would be at the very back of the list on this occasion. I’d want to see every one of those celestial features as I fed her a length as she revs my engine effortlessly with just the vaguest flash of those devious dimples. Joking aside, and I’m deadly serious that she would get it, she continues to impress me with her devotion to her craft. We may not yet have seen her appear in anything truly worthy of complimenting her brilliance but I believe it to be just a matter of time before that big break arrives. Here she is just as sassy and bad-assed as she has ever been and Marybeth is well worth getting those galoshes on for, even if it does mean being torn from bloody limb for the privilege.

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While deliberate in his steady set-up, there’s nothing the slightest bit serene about the second half of Hatchet II. It isn’t destined to leave any real lasting impression on your memory, but then, Green was never aiming at the highbrow anyhoots. This is the ultimate beers and buddies movie, never once misleading its small army of followers as to why they are present and what’s on the menu. That’s not to say that he isn’t capable of more meaningful artistry; Frozen and Spiral have both proved that he is one to keep a very watchful eye over in the coming years and the brilliant Holliston further corroborates this belief. But with this he just wants to cut loose, pay homage to the films he grew up idolizing, and come good on his promise of pails of warm, sticky grue.

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By its outrageously blood-spattered conclusion, the marsh is quite literally awash with entrails, and with that we are spat out of the swamp none the wiser but more than satisfied. Green has decided against returning to the director’s chair for the upcoming Hatchet III and I find that disappointing, despite the fact that he is still on writing duties. Hatchet is his baby and I wonder whether he will regret his decision not to complete his directorial trifecta looking back. We’ve had a great deal of merriment with Hatchet II and how could you possibly not? Bottom line is this; it’s not high art and neither is it without its faults, but we forgive any imperfections as it does exactly what it states on the tin. Sometimes there’s great comfort in familiarity.

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Crimson Quill’s Judgement: 7/10

Grue Factor: 5/5

For the Grue-Guzzlers & Pelt-Nuzzlers: Large busted naked co-eds inbound? That’s a given. Ludicrously oversized six-foot chainsaw? Confirmatory. Forecasts of showers are also accurate; an umbrella would be fruitless against the tsunami of splatter pouring down here. We are talking of over 136 gallons of resplendent grue, 81 more than was used first time around. In addition, we are gifted a spleen-wrenching reprisal for one of our beloved horror legends. Sixty theaters across the US and Canada showed Hatchet II in its full glory upon its initial opening,the first time in almost three decades that an unrated film has been screened theatrically. Of course, none of them knew what they were letting themselves in for, and many had removed it from their carte du jour by the close of the weekend. Had they not watched the first film?

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