Hatchet (2006)

Hatchet (2006)

It’s not a remake. It’s not a sequel. And it’s not based on a Japanese one.

A group of tourists take a boat ride into the haunted Louisiana bayous where they learn of the terrifying tale of local legend Victor Crowley, a hideously disfigured boy who was accidentally killed by his father whilst he was trying to save him from a fire. Unfortunately the weather takes a turn for the worst and the boat ends up sinking, stranding the tourists in the middle of the swamps where the legend of Victor Crowley comes to life in horrific fashion.


I like the tag line for this film. “It’s not a remake. It’s not a sequel. And it’s not based on a Japanese one.” When you take a step back and look at the horror market nowadays, you’ll realise just how true that statement is. If Hollywood isn’t butchering a classic from twenty years ago, it’s putting its own ridiculous spin on Japanese blockbusters or simply cashing in on a successful franchise. Having said that, Hatchet isn’t exactly Mr Originality when it comes to films and perhaps a more fitting tag line underneath would have been “but we’re still making the slasher film as they should have always been made.” That means buckets of blood, lots of obnoxious characters, some remote location and a killer who isn’t just a guy in a mask. Hatchet works very well for the most part, it’s only real problems being the lack of originality, the ‘been there, seen that’ feeling you get once the blood starts flying and the fan boy approach that director Adam Green takes. Instead of making his own film, it looks like he is too happy making nerds everywhere chuckle at the sight of a famous genre actor walking on set.

Genre fans will no doubt get their kicks out of seeing some infamous genre actors have small roles in this film. Robert Englund pops up before the credits have even rolled and cashes in the easiest pay cheque he’s probably ever had. Tony Todd has a ‘blink and you’ll miss him’ cameo but even if your eyes are shut, you could still recognise him by his amazing voice. Kane Hodder fares a lot better as he plays both Victor Crawley and his father in flashbacks. Hodder was the best Jason by a long way and he still has the imposing figure to make such a nerve-wracking sight when wielding a power tool! As for the rest of the cast, well the sooner they all get hacked up, the better. The script does a great job of making everyone to be obnoxious, whiny or bitchy or have some character trait that means they’re going to die.

Clearly made with a possible franchise in mind, Victor Crowley is a rather uninspired creation. The big trio of slashers had their own little quirks to make them stand out but this guy just looks like he walked off the set of Wrong Turn. I can’t see him catching on very quickly simply for the fact he’s so generic. He’s still a big guy and you wouldn’t mess with him. It’s a pity he isn’t on screen a bit earlier on as it takes ages for the tourists to actually get to the swamp and get lost. Unfortunately in this day and age of ‘torture porn’ films, the traditional slasher film has lost a bit of its edge and audiences are on longer satisfied with a deformed guy hacking teenagers up with an axe.

Thankfully there are some sick kills in this film to keep gore hounds happy. In one particularly memorable moment, Crowley rips a victim’s head off from her jaw upwards with his bare hands. The eternal teenager in me cried out “oooo” when it happened and I had to rewind and watch again, it was that good. The filmmakers claim that no CGI effects were used and it shows. All of the blood and guts are real and every decapitation and mutilation is done with the skill, craft and sheer imagination of a bunch of guys plying their craft like it was their swansong. Make-up man John Carl Buechler should stick to what he does best here as opposed to attempting to direct with dreck like The Eden Formula.



Hatchet clearly thinks that it’s punching above its weight with the self-glorifying tag lines, genre actor cameos and buckets of blood. But beneath that gloss, there is little else to this rather generic slasher. It’s entertaining but only because it’s rare to see such a gory slasher film made nowadays. It’s weird to think that if this had have been in the 80s, it probably would have got lost in the shuffle amongst the rest. But being made in 2006 has meant it’s getting proclaimed as the best slasher since the 80s. Quite ironic I think.





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