Hatchet II Directed by: Adam Green Cast: Danielle Harris, Tony Todd, Kane Hodder Running Time: 1 hr 35 mins Rating: UR Release Date: October 1, 2010 (limited)
PLOT: Hatchet II picks up where the first left off. After narrowly escaping Victor Crowley, Marybeth and friends are forced to return to the swamp to put an end to Crowley's reign of terror.
WHO'S IT FOR? Horror fans will appreciate all the throwback references to the slashers that came before this one. Fans of gore will be delighted at Green's creative kills and fans of Green's other work (Hatchet or Frozen specifically) shouldn't miss out on this one.
EXPECTATIONS: Supposedly the MPAA asked Green to cut out some of the gore but when he screened it for AMC theaters, they agreed to accept it with no cuts and kept it as UR. With a story like that? I had to see for myself. I was expecting more blood and guts and believe me, Hatchet II did not disappoint.
Danielle Harris as Marybeth: Let's be clear about one thing. Almost nobody was watching this for the Oscar-worthy acting. That being said, Danielle Harris was an adjustment since they replaced the original Marybeth. Thankfully, Harris doesn't try to stagger through a Southern accent like the original, but she slips in and out of a drawl every so often. Still, she does the whole scared thing well, but she does badass even better. It's a shame she doesn't get to shine more, but she's memorable in the film's finale. Score: 6
Tony Todd as Reverend Zombie: Todd is simultaneously sinister and completely and utterly camp. But when I think about it, I wouldn't have it any other way. It's clear from the get-go that this is a man that can't be trusted, but then he'll disarm you with a pun or two and a grin. Do I miss the Tony Todd from his Candyman days? Sure I do, but it's nice to see him make a fool of himself every so often too. In the end, Todd doesn't bring anything new to the role, but he brings a whole helluva lotta charm to the movie and that's priceless. Score: 8
Kane Hodder as Victor Crowley: As the villain of the piece, Hodder is tasked with a difficult role. He has to bring terror and despair all together without any lines. At least, I'm assuming we're not counting his unintelligible grunting as dialogue. Still, he does what he can with it. The biggest part of these types of roles, which Hodder is already well acquainted with, is the body movement. Hodder pops up at all the right moments and lumbers along in a way that's somehow both frightening and sort of pathetic. Sure, he's not going to achieve iconic status like Jason or Freddy, but he makes a good villain for the movie. Even though he's not given a lot to work with, he does what he can to make the role his own. Score: 7
TALKING: As with every other horror movie, this one is filled with bad cliches and forgettable lines. However, Green's awareness of the genre and those that have come before him allows him to have a little fun with it, which is what saves this movie from the ranks of other bad supernatural slashers. References to Jason Voorhees and the lesser known Leslie Vernon make this self-referential horror flick at least a fun romp. On the other end, sometimes the dialogue tries a little too hard to get a laugh out of the audience. The token black guy with his borderline offensive stereotypical cracks is probably one of the worst examples that Hatchet II has to offer up, but luckily, these moments don't overwhelm the movie. Score: 7
SIGHTS: Before getting to the good stuff, Green has a couple of sight gags in the movie (fans of Frozen should be on the lookout) that pay off quite nicely. The Southern gothic setting works well with the story of Victor Crowley but doesn't do too much to add or detract from the story. Here's where the gore comes into play. Hatchet II has a low budget vibe to it, but it works wonders with what it's got. Faces being sliced off, a man strangled by his own intestines, and a rather creative use of a power sander are just some of the atrocities that Hatchet II has to offer. For any horror fans, the kills alone are pretty much a nightmare come true. Still, there are moments when the camera hangs too long on the scene that make it obvious that something's going to pop out that let down a little bit. Score: 8
SOUNDS: There are literally two songs on the soundtrack and, you guessed it, they're both metal bands. Evidently I'm one of the only horror fans out there that doesn't appreciate metal music because it's on pretty much every horror soundtrack. Other than that, there's not much to say about the sounds. Oh, wait, Hatchet II also does that annoying increase of the sound level every time you're supposed to be scared so I guess it's got that going on. Either way, there's not a whole lot to be said about the sounds of this one. Score: 5
BEST SCENE: Watching a man being strangled by his own intestines is always a nice way to spend the day. Honestly, most of the kills are a lot of fun in a "you know you're going to hell for enjoying this" kind of way and much more inventive than the first Hatchet.
ENDING: Pretty much your standard horror ending, but that's not a bad thing. It has fun with its final showdown between Marybeth, Reverend Zombie, and Victor Crowley and as an audience member, that's all I wanted.
QUESTIONS: It's best not to think too hard when watching a movie of Hatchet II's caliber so I just went with it.
REWATCHABILITY: Sure. I'm a big horror fan so I'm sure I'd get a kick out of watching it with some friends.
Hatchet II is one of those fun horror flicks that you see once, then forget about until it comes on cable a couple years later. Sure, Green has fun with the project and it's got all sorts of pop culture throwbacks to amuse the hardcore slasher fan, but for anyone else? I wouldn't recommend it. That being said, this one goes out to all the slasher fans out there. Hatchet II has a lot to offer. Besides Green's little in-jokes here and there, it has one of the highest body counts I've ever seen. Is it revolutionary? Lord no, but it subscribes to the age-old adage "if it ain't broke, don't fix it." It may not have all the nudity (although there are a couple scenes) of the first one, but it has double the blood. No, seriously, this production used over double the blood of the first one and the kills are more creative this time around. Hatchet II definitely isn't for everyone, but for fans of the first or gore nuts, it has enough sin to satisfy.
FINAL SCORE: 7/10