The first Hatchet, viewed at home and without the company of others, was
for yours truly, akin to a root canal. Billed as a return to “old
school American horror,” Hatchet was the story of a retarded mutant
ghost named Victor Crowley who is cursed to wander a Louisiana swamp for
all eternity, hacking up all of the tourists, teenagers and senior
citizens who cross his path. To say that I was not a fan is an
understatement, but I was easily in the minority; most horror fans
seemed to dig the films film’s throwback approach and its practical gore
effects, forgiving the lack of a coherent story, likable characters and
a sense of humor that would appeal to anyone outside of the third
grade.


And with that out of the way…

Hatchet 2 is a significantly
better film than its predecessor, the main improvement being that it’s
not completely and totally unwatchable. I felt attacked by the firstHatchet . I was able to sit back and just let the sequel happen in front
of me, even if I wasn’t particularly enjoying it.


The story picks up directly where the first one ended, with Marybeth
(Danielle Harris) narrowly escaping from Crowley (Kane Hodder), getting
to safety and then returning to retrieve the eviscerated bodies of her
family with a team of gun-toting rednecks and an overacting Tony Todd in
tow. Violence happens. Roll credits.


Writer/director Adam Green’s improvement as a filmmaker are evident
from frame one of the film. The (potentially intentional) sloppy
filmmaking of Hatchet is gone and the sequel is pretty slick production,
a;though it maintains the cardboard-and-glue quality of the ’80s horror
it’s paying tribute to. Tonally, Hatchet 2 is almost identical to the
first film, with the 85 minute running time consisting of nothing dick
jokes, boobs, dismemberments and intestinal strangulations, but Green’s
pacing has improved substantially, meaning that whether you like it or
not, Hatchet 2 starts moving at frame one and never slows down until the
credits roll.


That’s the nicest things I can say about Hatchet 2, I suppose. It’s over fast enough to not hurt too much.

By
making a niche film for a niche audience, it’s obvious that Green has
the best of intentions and considering how well the screening went over,
he’s found a fanbase on the same wavelength as himself. For me, though,
the trashy horror films of yesteryear are fun because they represent
the antithesis of quality. They’re a product of their time and place and
whether they were made as cynical cash-grabs or by a filmmaker honestly
trying to make a classic, it’s their lack of self awareness that makes
them so watchable.


But when you take the elements of ’80s horror (hulking slasher
villain, bimbo characters, weak story and no discernible style) and
recreate them with a wink, you lose the honesty that makes bad schlock
fun in the first place. You’re just celebrating shitty filmmaking. I’m
all for watching characters get torn in half or decapitated by a madman
in a swamp, but I’d like a little style, wit or substance with my gore,
thank you very much.


Hatchet 2 is more of the same, more of that “old school American horror.” I’ll just look to the future, thank you very much.

3/10