Hatchet III is a needless sequel with plenty of gore and splatter but little story. I somewhat enjoyed the first entry and what Writer-Director Adam Green wanted to convey, but the sequel was a mere rehash and this third entry was surprisingly dull to sit through.
MPI | Unrated – 81 min. – $34.98 | August 13, 2013
Directed by: BJ McDonnell
Writer(s): Adam Green (written by)
Cast: Danielle Harris, Kane Hodder, Zach Galligan, Caroline Williams, Parry Shen, Robert Diago Doqui, Derek Mears
Features: 2 Audio Commentaries, Featurettes, Trailers
Number of Discs: 1
Audio: English (DTS-HD MA 5.1)
Video: 1080p/Widescreen 2.35
Subtitles: English SDH, Spanish
Disc Size: 20.6 GB
Codec: MPEG-4 AVC
THE MOVIE – 1.0/5
“Some legends never die.” If you replace “legends” with “franchises”, then I think this tagline is right on!
As with the previous entry, Hatchet III picks up immediately where Hatchet II ended with the tormented Marybeth (DANIELLE HARRIS), against all odds, has once again survived the brutality of Victor Crowley’s (KANE HODDER) revenge. In the monster’s wake are dozens of bodies and body parts strewn throughout the area.
But it would seem Marybeth has won, blowing Crowley’s face off and, when he comes back again, gets cut in half via chainsaw. Taking his head as some sort of trophy and drenched in Crowley’s blood, Marybeth returns to civilization and turns herself in to a small town sheriff’s office headed by Sheriff Fowler (ZACH GALLIGAN). Marybeth recounts her ordeal to which the sheriff doesn’t believe a word of, particularly to the legend of Victor Crowley. Somebody who does believe is a Crowley expert, and the sheriff’s ex-wife, Amanda (CAROLINA WILLIAMS) and after some resistance, Marybeth spills her experience and in turn, Amanda reveals an evil truth: that Victor Crowley is not dead and will continue to rise up every night until the curse is broken. Yeah, it’s kind of bullshit, but it’s the closest semblance of a plot, so I went with it.
While the sheriff and is men are called out to the bayou to investigate the dead bodies, somehow Amanda convinces the sheriff’s deputy, Winslow (ROBERT DIAGO DOQUI), to take Marybeth as she is the only person who can lift the curse. However, part of lifting said curse involves Victor’s father who passed away eons ago but Amanda has a way as during her research she had interviewed a close relative of Victor’s who just so happens to have Crowley’s father’s ashes. How convenient and for a third movie in the series, interesting new information to jam in there…
With ashes in hands, the Amanda and the Deputy (coming to NBC this fall) take Marybeth, against her will mind you, to the bayou to confront Crowley once and for all in the hopes to break the curse. It’s contrived, not quite well thought out and leads to a lame ending with yet another opening for a possible fourth movie. Hooray.
My problem with Hatchet III, and with the series as a whole, is although it is appreciative what Adam Green and company were trying to do, meaning bringing back old school horror, instead presents thinly-written characters whose only purpose, save for Harris’ Marybeth, are to be blood and guts fodder for our supernatural serial killer, who when he growls sounds like a T-Rex for some reason.
This entry sees the debut of BJ McDonnell taking the director’s chair with Green staying behind the scenes with writing and producing, and while the screenplay has much to be desired, the direction is even worse. For a splatter house horror film, this is just downright dull and each kill isn’t very inventive and becomes incredibly tedious as we get closer to the end. I can’t place total blame on McDonnell but when a horror movie can’t even be suspenseful, that’s a huge problem.
The film isn’t a total loss, however. Danielle Harris, in a very limited role spending much of her time either in a jail cell or the back of a police cruiser, might’ve sleepwalked through her role but as the only person with one iota of a personality, she’s the only person I cared about. The other positive, and indicative of the lame plot line, is the film’s running time is only 75-minutes sans the end credits.
The supporting cast, which includes Zach Galligan best known for Gremlins, have extremely little to work with and in fact are only there to be victims for Crowley to dismember in various ways. And outside of Galligan’s character, as Sheriff Fowler, I can’t tell you a damn thing about any one of them or even how they met their demise… I realize this shouldn’t be a surprise for a slasher film, but it would’ve been nice to half attempted to give these people some semblance of depth otherwise their deaths emotionless and meaningless.
Hatchet III hopefully finishes up a franchise that went on two too many movies as the first one was only an acceptable horror movie, while the second one was more of the same and the third attempts to expand the mythology but comes across as a cheap and needless sequel. I suppose horror fanatics might appreciate some of the splatter effects, though even there it’s a downgrade from its predecessors, but for myself, I’ll be glad to be done with the series.
SPECIAL FEATURES – 2.25/5
Audio Commentaries features two tracks: 1) Crew commentary with writer/producer Adam Green, Director BJ McDonnell, Cinematographer Will Barratt and Make-Up Effects Artist Robert Pendergraft; 2) is with Green, McDonnell & Actors Kane Hodder and Parry Shen. Because of the participants, the first track is a bit better expanding on the behind-the-scenes elements.
The second delves some more into the acting side, specifically with Kane Hodder explaining the difficulties and physicality of playing Crowley. Now, Danielle Harris apparently was supposed to join them but was unable to due to sickness, which is disappointing being the only highlight of this film.
Hatchet III: Behind the Scenes (9:06; HD) provides a look at how the film was made providing some fly-on-the-wall footage and on-set comments by the crew. It’s not the most fascinating featurette but enlightening enough nevertheless.
Raising Kane (4:57; HD) is a featurette focusing on Kane Hodder on playing the character and getting the make-up to transform him into Victor Crowley.
Swamp Fun (8:53; HD) looks at more behind-the-scenes footage of the cast and crew filming, and all the trials and tribulations included, in the swamp.
Also included is a Theatrical Trailer (1:56; HD) and a Teaser Trailer (0:51; HD).
Previews – Stitches, Manborg, Sleep Tight, Frankenstein’s Army
VIDEO – 4.5/5
Unlike the second movie, this one, also released by MPI, features a stunningly beautiful picture. Hatchet III arrives on Blu-ray presented with a 2.35 widescreen aspect ratio and a finely detailed 1080p high-definition transfer. The detail levels are excellent with a moderate amount of natural film noise. The blacks look properly balanced and as one can imagine, a fair amount of the movie occurs as night but when there are daylight scenes, the colors seem well balanced and often times have a certain punch coming off the screen.
AUDIO – 4.5/5
Hatchet III might not be a very good movie, but you will hear every splatter, gunfire and saw blade. One element that has been consistent from the Hatchet Blu-ray releases has been the lossless audio and this 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio track is nearly phenomenal showcasing the horror elements as well as clear and crisp dialogue levels which comes through the center channel quite nicely. Outside of the action, ambient noises and the score makes good use of the rear channels.
OVERALL – 2.25/5
Overall, Hatchet III is a needless sequel with plenty of gore and splatter but little story. I somewhat enjoyed the first entry and what Writer-Director Adam Green wanted to convey, but the sequel was a mere rehash and this third entry was surprisingly dull to sit through. The Blu-ray at least does have top notch audio and video transfers and there are just enough features to make it worthwhile to sit through for anyone who did enjoy the film.