Feb 252011
 

Hatchet II is nothing more than a rehash of the first movie – right down to a few of the kills – and that might’ve been all well and good but it also was missing the dark humor and actors who could pull it off. Although I wasn’t a big fan of the original, I did find parts of it to be what writer/director intended it to be, a call back to old school horror, unfortunately Hatchet II seems to be a call back to the old school unnecessary sequels as well.

 

 


Hatchet II: Unrated Director’s Cut (2010)


REVIEW NAVIGATION

The Movie
| Special Features | Video Quality | Audio Quality | Overall

 

Genre(s): Horror
MPI | Unrated – 86 min. – $34.98 | February 1, 2011

 

MOVIE INFO:
Directed by:
Adam Green
Writer(s):
Adam Green (written by)
Cast:
Danielle Harris, Tony Todd, Kane Hodder

Theatrical Release Date: October 1, 2010

DISC INFO:
Features:
Commentaries, Featurettes, Trailers, TV Spots
Number of Discs:
1

Audio: English (DTS-HD MA 5.1)
Video:
1080p/Widescreen 1.78
Subtitles:
English SDH, Spanish
Codec: AVC

THE MOVIE – 2/5

If a supernatural creature serial killer screams and kills a bunch of assholes in the middle of nowhere and nobody can hear it, do you give a rat’s ass?

Hatchet II marks the return of the gruesome Victor Crowley (KANE HODDER) who is still out for vengeance. The movie begins directly after the first film where Marybeth, who had time for plastic surgery to make herself look like Danielle Harris, has escaped the clutches of Crowley. She’s helped by a creepy redneck fisherman and takes her back to his cabin to let her dry off and get warm. But when she tells him her last name is Dunston, his helpful mood changes as he becomes angry and forces her out giving her only one piece of advice if she wants to know why he’s angry: go see Reverend Zombie. So Marybeth makes her way back to town and the opening credits begins appropriately enough with a cameo by Adam Green throwing up on a street corner. That my friends sum up the picture…

Anyways, she finds Reverend Zombie (TONY TODD) – who we briefly met in the first movie – reluctantly lets her in and tells her why the creepy fisherman had such a nasty reaction to her. You see in the first film, Marybeth’s father (played by Robert Englund), along with her brother, were killed by Crowley because as a kid her father, his brother and a friend were the kids responsible for setting fire to Crowley’s house which supposedly killed Victor and sent his dad into a fit of grief. This new/additional back story also goes into how Victor was born where the first go around just gave us the basics. So, for whatever crazy reason – well, to retrieve her father and brother’s rotting corpses – she wants the Reverend to help her go back into the swamp and get their bodies. At first he scoffs this off but then agrees but only if a hunting party goes in AND that her “Uncle Bob” comes along. Not only is the reason to go back in crazy, but we had to get an ensemble together so there can be more kills.

This brings up one of the problems I have with the film, character wise at least. Marybeth knows Victor Crowley is out there and he’s out for blood, YET she has no problem leading others in for the slaughter so she can take home two bodies and get revenge? Ok, I guess I’ll half buy the revenge part but as much as she distrusts the Reverend (for good reason), she’s no saint either. Also, there’s a “twist” of sorts near the end that only makes me question her character even further.

SPOILER ALERT! SPOILER ALERT!

So we find out that the Uncle Bob she takes with her, the guy that’s supposed to complete the circle and end the curse of Victor Crowley, is in fact NOT her real uncle but one of her father’s best friends whom she considers like family. Not a great twist, but fair enough EXCEPT for the fact that she does learn of the Reverend’s true intentions and rather than telling him of that her uncle is not a blood relative, she just screams and looks on in horror as Crowley kills “Bob”. It’s only after this deed is done and Zombie believes the curse has been lifted that she reveals the truth. Of course, this was also more to the benefit for the audience as you might guess Crowley still lives and is now after the Reverend. Admittedly this does lead to one of the most gruesome horror scenes I’ve witnessed.

END SPOILERS

Back to the less spoiler-ized portion of the review, I wasn’t a big fan of the first Hatchet film but did give it credit to Adam Green for doing what the film set out to do and that was bringing back old school horror, which it did. The problem I had with Hatchet II is that other than one of the killings, it’s all just a rehash of the first movie (including death by electric sander) but without the dark humor and great characters which was another reason the original worked as much as it did. Here we have people I couldn’t have cared less about and in fact rooted for each of their deaths. Save for Danielle Harris, the other chick wasn’t that hot and her character’s personality was bland. Then you add in the stereotypical rednecks – and one character who doesn’t even say a word – and you’ve got a cast that is so boring and worse of all, can’t act either.

Now, getting to what I found was the most interesting aspect of the production and that was the recasting of Marybeth. In the original the part was played by Tamara Feldman, a then unknown who before Hatchet had only appeared in a couple episodes of various shows (“Smallville”, “Jake 2.0”) yet for some mysterious reason for which Adam Green cryptically said she’s “in a spot in her life/career where she is making some bad choices” and that [losing the lead role in the Hatchet franchise] “should hopefully be the worst of her career/life and I hope things turn around for her down the road.” He then takes a swipe at her stating you’ll probably see her in a Payless Shoe commercial or as a background extra on a TV show. Yikes. So as you can see, it seems the drama – and figurative bloodshed – behind the scenes was far more interesting than the film itself.

As for Danielle Harris, despite the problems I had with her cold-hearted character, I thought she acquitted herself well enough and being a modern day scream queen, she certainly has cred going for her.

But in the end, I can’t rate Hatchet II that highly because of what happened off-camera but what we see on screen and while it might feed the blood thirst for the old school horror fans, I just didn’t get anything more out of it as save for a couple of kills and a ton more fake blood splashing onto trees and walls, is nothing more than a rehash of the first film. Perhaps that’s what the writer was going for, emulating the needless/pointless (and countless) horror sequels from the 1970s/80s…

SPECIAL FEATURES – 3/5

Two Feature Commentaries – The first is with Writer/Director Adam Green & Actors Tony Todd and Kane Hodder while the second features Green & Cinematographer Will Barratt and Make-Up Effects Supervisor Robert Pendergraft. I may not be completely onboard Adam Green’s films thus far, but he does provide a wealth of info on his movies and with these commentaries, he and others cover a wide range of subjects. You can’t go wrong listening to either track but I do prefer the actor track.

Hatchet II: Behind the Screams (33:39; HD) – This is a decent behind-the-scenes featurette that goes from the pre-production to filming and post. Writer/director Adam Green, the cast (Danielle Harris, Tony Todd, Kane Hodder, etc.) and other crew members talk about the story behind the sequel and getting back together for more goriness.

Hatchet II EPK (8:15; HD) – This has some of the same interview footage but it’s more condensed and made to advertise the film rather than provide any meaningful information on how it was made.

The Killing Machine (6:14; HD) featurette focuses on the special effects on the film and the buckets upon buckets of blood used. It’s just more interview footage with a more focuses angle on the production.

Lastly, there’s the Theatrical Trailer (1:56; HD), Teaser Trailer (1:11; HD), TV Spot (0:33; HD) and Radio Spot (0:32). The disc also has trailers for The Last Lovecraft, Wake Wood, The House of the Devil and Bitter Feast.

VIDEO – 3/5

The movie is presented in 1080p high-def and its original 1.78 aspect ratio and although Hatchet II got a bump in its budgets (reportedly $1 million more), it didn’t really transfer to a better video transfer compared with the original’s Blu-ray release. I found most of the film to look kind of ugly and since it mostly takes place at night, a fair amount of grain and noise which detracts from the detail levels which weren’t too good to begin with.

AUDIO – 3.5/5

The 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio track also isn’t nearly as good as the first Blu-ray. The opening sequence set against a heavy metal song sounded a little too soft (whereas Marilyn Manson’s song boomed out of the speakers) but dialogue levels were good and the blood-curdling screams came through the front channels just well enough.

OVERALL – 2.5/5

Hatchet II is nothing more than a rehash of the first movie – right down to a few of the kills – and that might’ve been all well and good but it also was missing the dark humor and actors who could pull it off. Although I wasn’t a big fan of the original, I did find parts of it to be what writer/director intended it to be, a call back to old school horror, unfortunately Hatchet II seems to be a call back to the old school unnecessary sequels as well.

 

Brian Oliver, The Movieman
Published: 02/25/2011

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