When the original Hatchet gouged and maimed its way onto the horror scene back in 2006, it garnered itself a significant amount of attention from slasher fans, who were enamored with its garish violence and crude sense of humour. Its much-anticipated sequel, Hatchet 2, shall be receiving a limited theatrical release in the UK this Friday, following a late 2010 run in the US that was controversially brought to a premature end after the MPAA refused to give it an age rating. So is it worth your time on its first (and last) stint in Blighty?
If you have been inveigled into attentiveness due to the blogging communities grandiose claim that its director Adam Green is “the next icon of horror”, then you will almost certainly be left disappointed. However, if you, like me, find the notion of a chainsaw to the testes inexplicably funny, then you will find a lot to like about Hatchet 2. It’s just a shame that it conserves all of its energy till the final hurdle.
Heroine Marybeth (who has undergone a change of actress for the sequel in the form of pint-sized, Halloween scream queen Danielle Harris) sets out to find her family, who are presumed dead after an altercation with murderous town ‘myth’ Victor Crowley, enlisting the help of shady walking cliché Reverend Zombie (Tony Todd) to do so. Zombie’s monologues, of which there are many, often devolve into indecipherable guttural grunts that sound like the cacophony of rasps that would permeate a conversation between Tom Waits, a caveman and the Cookie Monster sharing a whiskey in a smoky downtown jazz bar.
Todd is clearly well-suited to the role of antagonist, but after hearing his gravelly explanation of the simplistic plot for the umpteenth time, you just want to whack on an Enya CD and be done with it.
The story of hatchet-wielding disfigured villain Victor Crowley’s death and resurrection is, in comparison to most horror baddies’, admittedly half-decent, but director Adam Green seems so unjustifiably proud of it that he wastes the majority of the films runtime forcing his characters to bask in the narrative, rather than have them die the extremely improbable deaths that we are left impatiently awaiting. When the assorted empty-headed hicks do eventually head off on their boats to meet their inevitable demise, it almost feels like too little, too late.
Fortunately the deaths themselves are laugh-out-loud brilliant, and guarantee that Hatchet 2 will join the likes of Evil Dead 2 and Braindead as the perfect accompaniment to cold beer and pizza. Ranging from the grisly to the gynecological (yes, you read that right), Crowley finds a multitude of ways to dispose of his victims using the simple tools at his disposal, and as a belt sander inexplicably enters the foray, you get the sense that you could actually be watching 1000 Ways to Die: The DIY Edition.
It’s just a shame that it spends so much of its time routinely ticking the boxes, rather than flourishing as its own bloodthirsty entity and living up to the hype that accompanied its short-lived venture on the big-screen. Hatchet 2 is a sequel that struggles to live up to the precedent set by its charming (if flawed) predecessor, and despite it delivering some memorable thrills in its final 30 minutes, you’ll find it difficult to sit through the endless exposition in order to get to them.
Hatchet 2 begins a small theatrical run in London from tomorrow.