IN THE NAME OF THE FATHER

Posted on Jun 16, 2013 in All Reviews, Hardcore Gore | 0 comments

Hatchet-III

How appropriate that Hatchet III, the third installment in the cult horror franchise, should be released for Father’s Day weekend. Those of you who are familiar with Victor Crowley, arguably the most beloved slasher of the new millennium, know that he has serious Daddy issues.

I’ve followed the Hatchet saga since the beginning, seeing the premier of the original in a low-rent theater outside of Boston. Its classic 80’s slasher feel, during the rise of tired remakes and SOV drivel, was a much-appreciated back-to-basics for gorehounds across the world.

The second film, though bogged down by too much juxtaposition and needlessly complicated back story, delivered the same sort of creative kills and high octane violence that made the first one such a delight – so much so that it had to be released unrated to keep the carnage in tact.

For the third and possibly final film in the Crowley legacy, writer-director Adam Green passes the director’s torch to Florida filmmaker BJ McDonnell, but still wields his creative wand as screenwriter.

Does the third film deliver, or is it time to give Victor Crowley the axe?

 

Now available in select theaters and on every VOD site, it’s up to us horror fans to judge for ourselves. We at the Tavern downloaded it as soon as we could, and although we’re still bogged down in a big project that put our webpage on hold all through May, we thought the return of Victor Crowley should get us to dust off our keyboard.

HATCHET III (2013)

 

If you’ve looked into the details of Hatchet III, probably the first thing you noticed about it is the casting. The sequel is bulging with enough horror genre icons to make Rob Zombie blush. But unlike in Zombie’s scripts, Green actually gives these genre favorites something to do other than just shout profanity.

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We get to enjoy Kane Hodder doing what he does best again, but we also get Danielle Harris reprising her role as Marybeth, the series’ heroine, and the new additions of Derek Mears (the “new” Jason), Caroline Williams (of Texas Chainsaw Massacre 2), and the where-has-he-been return of Zach Galligan (Gremlins and Waxwork). But to the film’s credit, this is more than just stunt casting. Each of the stars get well-rounded characters to play and the each do fantastic jobs, particularly Williams, who really seems to take the material seriously and adds the tension suggested by the plot.

That plot is exactly what you’d expect it to be, and that’s a good thing.

 

The film starts off at the exact moment the second one ended, just as the second did with the first. Like the second film, Marybeth returns to town and gets even more people riled up to head back into the swamp. But this time it isn’t youths on a boat tour or a bunch of ghost hunters; this time the law is involved.

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Hatchet III leaps from slasher movie to giant monster movie in a way, taking on a more Predator than Friday the 13th feel as a SWAT team moves into the swamp with heavy artillery. We establish the new characters of the good-hearted Sheriff (Galligan), the tough SWAT leader (Mears), the vigilante reporter (Williams) and the traditional cannon fodder of the panicky idiot, the clueless hot girl, and the token black guy (all of these characters seem to get recycled from film to film by Green. You’ve seen all of them before, only this time they have badges.)

For a while we start to stir in our seats as the group shoots at shadows and regurgitate standard dialogue, but when Crowley makes his grand entrance it is, indeed, grand. And while I will not spoil the glorious kills, I will say that while the good guys have amped up their weapons for part three, Crowley is getting back to just working with his own two hands.

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Additional stunt casting surprises emerge in cameos that I will not spoil, adding to the fun energy of the film. A new solution to cleansing the swamp of its ghostly demon is acted upon and the hide and seek slash-o-rama is only slowed by the effort to give it a little story, most of which we get through dialogue sequences inside of a police car (where Harris seems to spend most of the movie).  And although Marybeth is weirdly reluctant to have one last showdown with Crowley, you never doubt that it is going to happen, but you still have some ghastly surprises in store too.

FINAL THOUGHTS

 

While not as decadent as the first one in the kills and boobs department, this third flick is much more fun than part two, which suffered greatly from the weight of its own complexity. Green has kept it simple here and it goes over well. He really gives the hardcore fans what they’re always asking for here: lots of head-ripping gore, practical FX and stunts, pretty girls and a mini-horror con on screen. There are also a lot of winks to the audience that only fans of the first two will get, as well as a brutal fight between Kane Hodder and Derek Mears (that’s right, it’s Jason Vs. Jason!) If a horror nerd can’t enjoy this bloody ride then they’re just being too picky.

The end of the film feels like a finale of the story arch, but we know that there is always a way to bring back slasher icons – even with nonsense like a physic trying to resurrect her dead father or a dog pissing fire on a grave. So while this feels like the “final chapter,” we’ve heard all that before, and frankly, I prefer that it be a lie. Anytime Crowley wants to come back and take Manhattan or battle Leslie Vernon, I’ll be the first in line for a ticket.

RATING

☆☆☆☆

(4 out of 5)

CHICK OF THE LITTER

I must say that Caroline Williams still looks really good. Leatherface would be happy to massage her thigh again. More than that, she really steals the show in this flick. But mini-babe Danielle Harris seems to look hotter every time I see her. Luckily Adam Green always finds a reason to put her in a shower.

 

COL

 

 

BARTENDER’S NOTES

 

Do what Green did here and keep it simple. Hatchet III is very familiar in every way, so a favorite beverage of choice should do. I suggest a smooth bourbon, such as Evan Williams Single Barrel, a five time “Whisky of the Year” award winner, which I sipped upon while viewing.

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Just make sure to give yourself three fingers. Cheers!

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What do you think?