Thursday, October 6, 2011
Dollar Bin Horror Review:Hatchet (2006)
Word of mouth is a double-edge sword for me. For every horror film friends tell me is good(Bad Taste, Dead Alive), there are a ton more that I find which didn't live up to the hype (House of the Devil). Well, I can safely say that with this Adam Green-directed film, my friends got it right.
Two hunters, Sampson and his son Ainsleyare fishing in a swamp during a full moon. Ainsley says he has to use the restroom, and Sampson rows their boat to shore. While Ainsley is urinating, Sampson falls silent; Ainsley goes to see where he is and finds Sampson's mutilated body. He grabs his harpoon, only to be murdered by a monstrous being.
During a Mardi Gras celebration in downtown New Orleans, there is a group of friends including Ben and his best friend Marcus who have come to have some fun since Ben's girlfriend of eight years recently dumped him. Ben decides to go on a haunted swamp tour, and Marcus agrees to go with him. The two find that the tour is closed because the guide, Rev. Zombie, was sued for negligence.
Rev. Zombie suggests that they try a place farther down the street, owned by the over-the-top, inexperienced tour guide Shawn. Marcus decides to leave but changes his mind upon seeing two topless girls: Misty, a ditzy porn star, and Jenna (Joleigh Fioreavanti), a bossy, boastful, up-and-coming actress. Their sleazy director, Shapirois also there. Ben pays for himself and Marcus and Shawn leads them to his tour bus, where the other tourists, Jim and Shannon Permatteo a Minnesota
couple, and the quiet, hot-tempered Mary are waiting.
Ben tries to make friends with Marybeth, who rejects him, while Marcus takes a liking to Jenna. Shawn does not know what he is doing, which the others realize as they arrive at the swamp. Shapiro has Misty and Jenna strip down and film a scene for Bayou Beavers as everyone boards the boat, while a homeless swamp-dweller warns them away from the swamp. Shawn leads them through swamplands and past abandoned houses, including one where Victor Crowle, a deformed creature, lived. Shawn mentions "one night Victor's dad goes crazy and whacks him in he face with a hatchet" while looking at ghost lights; however, Shannon sees someone in the trees, and Shawn accidentally crashes into a rock, sinking the boat. To reach land, they must walk across a broken tree. Jim is bitten on the leg by an alligator, making him, Misty and Shapiro fall into the water. They reach shore and run to safety, while Jim bleeds profusely. They realize that Shawn is not a tour guide; he is just a college student looking for money. Marybeth takes out a gun she brought and informs them that her father and brother, Sampson and Ainsley, disappeared while fishing nearby, presumably at Crowley's hands. She then tells them the real story of Victor Crowley.
Long ago, presumably the 1940s-60s, Crowley was a deformed boy who was kept hidden from the world by his father. One Halloween, a group of kids decided to scare Victor by throwing fireworks into his house, but the house was engulfed in flames. Victor's father tried to hack down the door with a hatchet to save Victor, but because Victor was pressed up against the other side of the door trying to get out, he hit him in the face with the hatchet, killing him. Victor's father died of a broken heart ten years later. Marybeth believes Victor roams the swamp as a vengeful spirit, killing anyone who enters.
Victor mostly kills people near his house, which they are standing in front of. Shannon becomes infuriated with how scared everyone is and decides to help her husband into the house. Victor emerges and kills the Permatteos. Marybeth shoots Victor, but only makes him fall. While running away, Shapiro is separated from the others and killed by Victor. The others find Shapiro's body. Marybeth suggests they return to the Crowley house to get weapons, and all six of them go to the house. Jenna, Shawn, Marcus, and Misty stand guard while Marybeth and Ben go into the shed to get weapons, but find Sampson and Ainsley's bodies instead. Ben comforts Marybeth, and they grab a shovel and a pitchfork, while the others are scared by noises in the bushes. Jenna is killed by Victor as Marybeth and Ben arrive with the weapons. Marybeth hits Victor with the shovel, making him fall and get stabbed with the pitchfork by Ben. Shawn reaches for the shovel, but Victor grabs it first, chopping off Shawn's leg with it, and then decapitating him while the others flee.
As a hardcore horror fan, this movie is SICK! (In the way the teens say these days). There is not one single thing wrong with this movie. The gore outdoes even the Saw franchise. There is no pseudo-clever self-reference, no CW, plastic acting in this one. This is what a slasher movie should be- a strong backstory, blood and guts, no-holds-barred, kick you in the slats kind of film.
How bout the cameos from Freddy and Candyman? I was mad in the opener, if that tells you anything. The ending, through abrupt, I understand now, having had a few days to digest it. Hatchet is a rarity. A perfect horror film. So perfect, I'm inducting it in my Horror Movie Hall of Fame!.