What’s it About?
A search and recovery team heads into the haunted swamp to pick up the pieces and Marybeth learns the secret to ending the voodoo curse that has left Victor Crowley haunting and terrorizing Honey Island Swamp for decades.
Directed by BJ McDonnell
“We don’t tell us how to do our jobs and we won’t tell you how much you suck at yours.”
“This guy is no Casper The Friendly Ghost!”
6 out of 10
Ok, so we just HAD to have another “Hatchet” film. So, now it is a “Trilogy.” 3rd time’s the charm right? Um…maybe. By now if you see the title “Hatchet” and you notice that someone named Adam Green is involved then you must know that you are in for a bloody romp of unpretentious gore and over the top horror violence. This go round Green lets experienced camera operator BJ McDonnell (who has a very extensive list of films he has worked on as a cam operator like Star Trek: Into Darkness) take the reins here leaving him to concentrate on the story that is chock full (did I just use that term?) of humor and meta wit, urban legends and novelletish charm.
It’s straight forward and McDonnell actually re-grounds the franchise with some slick photography, quick dialog and an infatuation with in your face bloodletting that is quite transfixing. Green’s story is proper sequel material and he mostly hits the right notes with this quick footed entry that picks right up where HII ended. Green and McDonnell move the movie along as if it was shot out of a cannon, despite some self importance and reverence for the previous entries.
As the viewer you have no time to take or soak any of it in. The bloody opening starts with Danielle Harris, as Marybeth, turning her back on what was left of the beastly deformed and deranged Victor Crowley ( who goes around roaring like King Kong ) after he rises ala Michael Myers to go after her. After they scuffle a bit Crowley ends up taking a backwards fall onto his monstrous chainsaw that proceeds to slice him his right in half as Harris sits and takes a bath in all the blood that splatters everywhere. The credits roll to some hard rock and then we are under way, gang.
Marybeth shows up at the nearest Police Station where Zach Galligan (Gremlins) as Sheriff Fowler has her tackled and arrested. She is locked away and is not believed when she confesses that Victor Crowley, a swamp Urban Legend, has killed her brother and Father. Caroline Williams shows up as a stereotypical media hound to try and pry the real story from Marybeth after Fowler and his men are called to the swamp to investigate an attack on the first responders.
Actor Parry Shen, from the first 2 films, plays Andrew who escapes after Crowley is revived somehow and has killed off the other medics. One with a de-fib machine. Pretty nastily too. Reporter Amanda (Williams) gets a Deputy to release Marybeth and get them out to the swamp to help the Officers but after they go see someone who appears to have some answers regarding the relationship between Crowley and Marybeth.
The always watchable Sid Haig turns in a quick and wonderfully comedic cameo as Abbott McMullen which is just a throwaway sequence of sorts. Harris through most of all of this really has nothing to do but sit in the back of the patrol car and shout out obscenities. Meanwhile out in the swamp the Louisiana Swamp Patrol or Police or whatever they were show up and take over the search party for the killer. The lead Officer doesn’t care about any urban legends and he proceeds without caution against Fowler’s wishes.
Cody Blue Snider (Hatchet II) hilariously plays a loud, nervous and jittery Deputy that provides the comic relief for some time until things turn really bad and Crowley, played by Friday The 13th alum, Kane Hodder shows up and starts to rip, impale, tear, grind and decapitate everyone in close range. It is indeed a messed up moment where Crowley has some riotous fun killing of all of these heavily armed Officers. By no time Fowler, Andrew and a female deputy are the only ones left and try to get help from the military while they hide out at Honey Island Swamp.
Green and McDonnell provide some well placed dark humor, cracks, burns and one liners to keep everything in the film going at a brisk pace. Despite these things that work (Like Hodder, Williams and Galligan) some things don’t go over well at times like a dumb and contrived sub-plot involving a bloodline and how Crowley is some invincible creature that is protected by some voodoo or some shit like that. The more that McDonnell lets the actors talk, plan and re-act, the more the seams begin to show and the movie becomes hokey and predictable. Plus, the movie is not very scary. It has no real mood and atmosphere because it seems they did enough of that in the first entry and I suppose they felt it wasn’t really warranted this go around.
Another thing is the way the movie looks. It looks gritty and real during the scenes indoors like the Police Station and even the deputy’s car where Marybeth is holed up or Haig’s cabin. Then the look shifts to being too dark and amateur-ish as things run amok in the swamps. I quite can’t pinpoint what it is but it irked me. The cast all look like they are having a blast though despite saying and doing some dumb things. It was fun watching Galligan run around screaming, shooting and giving orders especially when inter-acting with Snider’s funny and hysterical Schneiderman.
In the finale, with Amanda, the Deputy and Marybeth ( after Crowley supplies some more mayhem and gore ) there is a weird ‘appeasing the evil god” scene that involves Marybeth and an urn. Whose ashes are in the urn? Why did they think it would help get rid of Crowley? Well, you got me. I mean they do explain it but I really didn’t care at that point. I just wanted to watch some more crazy over the top bullshit.
At the end of the day “Hatchet III’ is just a fast, by the numbers horror flick with a very slim story but loads of bloody mayhem, shooting, running and plenty of visual gags to keep fans of the franchise satisfied. Barely. It is better than the second, I suppose and it feels more like the first entry. “Hatchet III” comes across feeling like a flick made just for fans and nothing really new is brought to the table.
I don’t even believe that this entry will pull people into the series who haven’t already seen the first 2. Shame really because I don’t know where the hell this franchise is going to go especially with such an enigmatic ending. Not a bad time filler for a rainy Saturday afternoon. Just don’t expect too much and you should do ok. Oh, you may want to eat a meal AFTER watching this.