Hatchet II (2010)

Hatchet II ReviewReviewed by Gareth Jones

Starring Danielle Harris, Tony Todd, R.A. Mihailoff, AJ Bowen, Tom Holland, Kathryn Fiore, Parry Shen, Rileah Vanderbilt, Ed Ackerman, Rick McCallum, Colton Dunn, David Foy, Nick Principe, Alexis Peters, and Kane Hodder

Directed by Adam Green

Back to the bayou we go with Adam Green at the reins in his hotly anticipated Hatchet II. Picking up at literally the exact moment that the first film ended, we find the beleaguered Marybeth (now played by the gorgeous Danielle Harris) escaping the clutches of madman ghost Victor Crowley. Her rescue comes in the form of a one-eyed local fisherman who gives her refuge at his cabin – that is, until he discovers who she is and unceremoniously throws her out. It seems that Crowley’s rage may have something to do with her particular bloodline, and anyone involved with her is a definite target for the hatchet-wielding monstrosity.

The one who can provide the answers to Marybeth’s riddle comes in the form of Tony Todd’s Reverend Zombie, thrust into the spotlight this time as a main player. Gathering together a rag-tag band of hunters and trappers, Zombie leads Marybeth back into the forbidden swamp to track down his missing boat and Crowley himself. Things aren’t quite what they seem, however, as Zombie has his own motives for being there…

One thing’s for sure, though – once Crowley picks up on the invaders in his territory, shit’s gonna get bloody.

And bloody it gets! With Hatchet II Green throws a big two-fingered salute to the “less is more” crowd as the kills come thick, fast, and gory. The body count here is phenomenal, with each Crowley victim meeting a more grisly end than the last – all presented with glorious practical effects work. To describe individual kills would be considered spoilers here as Hatchet II really is a simple body count flick; in fact, it revels in being so just as the original did, if not more. What I will say, however, is that the death met by Crowley’s final victim is the best piece of on-screen ultra-violence I’ve witnessed all year. If you aren’t hollering when it happens, you’ve likely hated the movie.

The cast are all-round excellent. There’s nary a negative thing to be said about any of them, with a few throwbacks to characters from the original film proving very entertaining. The opening credit sequence alone is brilliantly constructed, taking us through the kill zones of the first film’s ill-fated subjects.

Hatchet II ReviewHumor runs rampant throughout Hatchet II, even more so than in the original. Punchlines come in an almost steady stream through both visuals and the dialogue, the best of which are a song sung by the comic relief character played by Colton Dunn, and another character that refuses to speak – right up until his imminent screaming death.

This is where it would be pertinent to say that Hatchet II is most certainly going to be a love it or hate it type of flick. From the beginning, it hoists a carefree flag and waves it in your face for every minute of the runtime. This isn’t a serious horror movie by any means – it’s a hack ‘n slash love letter to the body count flicks of yesteryear. If you didn’t like the first one, then stay far, far away – Hatchet II won’t change your mind about Crowley and his swamp.

Now, the film was a very quick production and at times it shows. Not through any major problems, but simply minor niggles that you’ll pick up on occasionally such as a couple of randomly changing accents and a few pieces of slightly shoddy effects work. It may start playing on your mind a little as you try to decide whether or not this is actually better than the first movie; but as soon as Victor Crowley walks out of the trees carrying what must be the biggest chainsaw ever committed to film, you suddenly realize what Green is doing here and can’t help but fall in love.

Being a fun love letter to the genre, Hatchet II is chock-full of genre references. Look out for the Jack Chop (with free fahkin’ glowstick!) in Reverend Zombie’s store, a nod to Behind the Mask: The Rise of Leslie Vernon, Joe Lynch quite horrifically losing his jaw, and multiple genre personalities including Lloyd Kaufman and our very own Uncle Creepy chowing down on some cookies. Adam Green is having a lot of fun here with absolutely no qualms in making a film that admires exactly what he admires. Take it or leave it, Hatchet II demands that you simply switch off your brain, strap in and enjoy.

With this follow-up, the ever-lovable Green has completed the perfect couple of movies for your gore ‘n beer night. Minus the distraction of the actress playing the lead character changing, both films could quite easily be joined right together to make one hell of a fun three hours as the carnage escalates. Hatchet II is twice the gore, twice the intensity, twice the fun, love and balls-out (literally!) craziness of the original. If the first one floats your boat, then you’d better book your ticket for this next tour of Crowley’s swamp as soon as you possibly can. There’s no way you’ll regret it – or come back with all your pieces!

4 out of 5

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Gareth Jones

Copywriter and critic sporting a lifelong obsession with all things horror. A little bit sane.

  • doubleh55

    Yeah, I was one of those big haters of the first movie. However, I’m going to support this just like I supported the first movie. My frame of mind for Hatchet II is much different than I was for the first one. I’m mostly glad the advertising isn’t making this out to be the savior of slasher films. I think that always bothered me a bit about the first one. Not really Adam Green’s fault though considering he didn’t have much say in the advertising. I think it’s fantastic this will be on the big screen and I believe he’s going to create something great.

  • elric300

    And it’s actually coming to theaters?!

    From what I’m reading, it sounds like AMC is showing the uncut version, starting Oct.1 in the top 20 markets. That sounds like a lot of screens, especially for a direct sequel to the first one that went largely to DVD. Very nice!

  • James Coker

    And the HATE BEGINS…. and to me Slasher films are like rollercoaster rides…Just HAVE FUN on the ride

  • Caterpillar

    The first one had great gore and shitty everything else. By making a so-called “throwback” to 80ies slasher films you don’t have to maggot-pick everything that usually brings these films down and turn it up to eleven, starting with seriously annoying characters (every single one of them was a waste of oxygen) and finishing with the “humor”, which was so dumb that it almost promted the return of undigested food back up my esophagus.

  • James Coker

    hahaha True RottenJesus, Very True
    I always Hate it when horror “fans” expect every fucking horror movie to be as “good” and “smart” as the exorcist or silence of the lambs…I’m looking at you Terminal…just kidding, love ya terminal

    • Terminal

      Yes, passive aggressiveness is funny. Har har, ho ho. In other news, is this like the fortieth time I’ve been mentioned this week? Does that warrant a medal or something? I think it’s about time I start making more appearances here since people obviously love me so much.
      “We are bad guys. That means we’ve got more to do other than bullying companies. It’s fun to lead a bad man’s life.”

      • Cinemascribe

        Hey look at it this way..at least you’re making an impact Terminal. Might as well revel in it. 🙂

        “I’m saying that I’m an insect who dreamt he was a man…and loved it. But now the dream is over..and the insect is awake.” – Seth Brundle

        • Terminal

          I hear that. It’s pretty re-assuring to know words can ruffle so many feathers.

          It’s just the way of the web, I guess. I hate this person so much so let’s show him how little he is by… talking about him as much as humanly possible.

          I’d be offended if I weren’t so flattered.
          “We are bad guys. That means we’ve got more to do other than bullying companies. It’s fun to lead a bad man’s life.”

  • James Coker

    I’m SOO Fucking Excited for this
    in the review…”If you didn’t like the first one, then stay far, far away – Hatchet II won’t change your mind about Crowley and his swamp”
    then by that rationel, ALOT of horror fans are going to undeservedly Hate on this one too

    • Rottenjesus

      Because some horror “fans” are just uppity cunts, James.

      • LifeMi

        Or maybe it’s because some horror fans want more than just gore and boobs from their slasher films. Some of them, like me, actually want a good film and Hatchet didn’t deliver in that respect. Personally though, I have no ill will towards Adam Green and if Hatchet II is playing near me, I’ll go see it just to support him and unrated horror in theatres. So no, not everyone who didn’t like Hatchet is uppity; they just realized it wasn’t a very good film.

  • PelusaMG

    Cannot wait to see this on the bog screen!

    (Pun intended)

    Please consider the environment before printing this message…

  • nonserviam03

    I’m so fucking excited for this movie

    • The Woman In Black

      I’m really looking forward to it, too, especially because I’ve always felt the actress who played Marybeth in the original was the weakest link. Having her replaced by Danielle just ups the ante even more!