Written by J. Weagle
It was back in 2006 when a little film made huge splashes in the horror scene, thanks to a lifelong horror fan Adam Green. The original Hatchet was a terrific film, in fact I would proudly place it somewhere in my list of favourite slasher films of all time. It was a gory, laugh out loud joyride that brought together a slew of horror icons to create the ultimate retro throw back to the 1980’s glory days of cheese. That tone helped in breaking itself apart from the more serious and intense “torture porn” films that became popular at that time.
A few years later Green gave us a follow up, that didn’t quite share the same charm that the original did. Now we get a third in the series, this time not directed by Green but by new comer BJ McDonnell. Unfortunately instead of Hatchet III returning the franchise back to the fun of the original it ends up treading familiar waters, and will leave long time fans hankering for something more.
The film opens immediately after the last film’s finale (which has become the staple of the franchise), where heroine Marybeth has just finished killing Crowley. All good slasher killers come back for one final scare however, and Crowley does, making for a very fun, hyper violent battle. She than takes Crowley’s disembodied head to the police station, and thus this is where the movie truly begins. Let’s face it the story has never been Hatchet’s strong point, but who watches this type of movie searching for a longwinded narrative with twist and turns. It’s all about the death sequences, and in this way the film doesn’t disappoint offering a variety of them, from simple beheadings to spinal columns being ripped out of people by hand.
There are many homages on display here, in fact some scenes are taken shot for shot from older horror films most notably Friday the 13th which becomes the biggest issue – it really wants to be a Friday the 13th film. The scene at the beginning when Crowley raises from the dead by sitting up is lifted directly from the iconic Jason Vorhees. Sure it’s fun to point out and laugh at all the references and nods, but by adding one too many it only becomes more clear that the film you’re watching isn’t as good as any of the films it wants to be. It is clear that the filmmakers know their old school horror films but maybe that isn’t for the best here.
I’m not going to come out and say that it’s not an enjoyable movie, because there is some fun to be had here. On the plus side there is plenty of gore to be found, and the pacing is solid. The laughs aren’t as plentiful, and the characters though goofy aren’t as enjoyable to watch. Maybe it’s just me being a little tired out by countless horror references and cameos as even Sid Haig turns up in this one, along with Kane Hodder of course continuing his role as Crowley. My advice would be that if you are craving a slasher film with good kills, just enough skin and barely enough laughs (on purpose or not) you could just as easily pick from one of countless 80’s movies that this film references and have just as much fun.