Starring Parry Shen, Kane Hodder, Felissa Rose, Laura Ortiz, Krystal Joy Brown, Brian Quinn, Tiffany Shepis, Dave Sheridan
Directed by Adam Green
Surprise! The next Hatchet film isn’t coming… IT’S ALREADY HERE! Put together in secret over the last couple of years, the fourth film in the gleefully bloody and ghoulishly funny franchise has been dubbed Victor Crowley; and if you liked what you’ve seen from the series thus far, this installment is a wondrous kind of nasty nirvana.
Taking place 10 years after the events of the Honey Island Swamp massacre, the incident’s sole survivor, Andrew Yong (Shen), has had quite the decade. Blamed for the murders of over 40 people – because no one would buy his story of a killer swamp ghost with a somehow wireless belt sander – Yong was eventually fully exonerated; and so he did what anyone else would do… he wrote a book as a means to at least make something from his experience tangoing with the local legend. Of course he still found himself enduring a backlash, but hey, at least he was making money, right?
From a surface level, Yong is still very much scarred from the whole hellish night; and if there’s one thing he learned, it’s to NEVER GO INTO VICTOR CROWLEY’S SWAMP… unless you’re offered a shit-ton of money from a television show. Then screw it! Throw all caution to the wind!
Of course you realize that upon his arrival back to Honey Island Swamp, things quickly go from bad to GOOD CHRIST GET ME THE FUCK OUT OF HERE as Crowley (Hodder) has been resurrected and has one thing – and one thing only – on his mind: tearing people to shreds in the most hilariously vile ways possible. There’s so much more to the story, but in the interest of staying spoiler-free, that’s all you really need to know going in. The rest is a ride you’re going to want to take!
The term “for fans by fans” is one that’s thrown around a lot, but when it comes to the Hatchet franchise, it’s never been more applicable. Green returns to the director’s chair with a vengeance, and you can see and feel every ounce of his soul up on the screen. There’s so much fan service and so many standout performances in the flick that will have you howling with laughter one second and then shrieking and cheering in terror the next. Of note other than Shen and Hodder, who are both incredible and also the glue of this entire franchise (neither of them can just stay dead), a special nod needs to go to Sleepaway Camp‘s Felissa Rose who – pardon the pun – just kills it as Yong’s agent/manager, Kathleen. When onscreen, she’s a dominant and captivating force who steals just about every scene she’s in. Fellow scream queen Tiffany Shepis and “Impractical Joker’s” Brian Quinn bring all the charisma you could want to their roles, and relative feature film newcomer Krystal Joy Brown nails it as Sabrina – a take-no-prisoner trash TV show host who shares a special relationship with Yong. Make no mistake, though… while the aforementioned truly shine, it’s Laura Ortiz as Rose who acts as the conscience, the heart, and the soul of this flick. This is very much her film, and her quirky badassery will probably remain unrivaled for the majority of the year.
Victor Crowley is a smartly written, outrageously funny, and incredibly gory affair that’s nothing short of a gift for slasher fans who appreciate their films wrapped in viscera with gallons of blood to spare. It’s home to one of the single greatest death scenes of the franchise unrivaled since Mrs. Permatteo (Patrika Darbo) had her head torn in half in the first entry, as well as a moment during a book signing that will have your body aching with laughter. It’s all there… all on wondrously unrated display… and all just waiting for you. The flick is a speeding freight train of terror that flies gloriously off the rails and leaves you desperately wanting more.
Welcome back, Mr. Crowley. The swamps of the genre have not been the same without you. Hatchet Army, let me hear you!