Director: Adam Green
Year of release: 2010
Country of origin: USA
Running time: 85 minutes
DVD/Blu ray: Both
Tagline: "Victor Crowley lives".
Also known as: Adam Green's Hatchet 2
Casting the spotlight on the slasher genre
Story: Following directly on from the events of the first film Mary Beth manages to escape the clutches of Victor Crowley in the swamp and is fished from the water by local redneck Jack Cracker. Though initially treating the stricken Mary Beth kindly this changes once Cracker learns her family name at which point he washes his hands of the situation telling her to speak to a Reverend Zombie if she wants answers.
Following his advice Mary Beth seeks out the Reverend at his shop back In the city. Here she soon learns more of the legend of Crowley and how he came to be. The Reverend finishes by telling her that her own father had a hand in the incident alluded to in the original which led to Crowley’s demise as a child.
On a quest for vengeance while also wanting to recover the bodies of her family Mary Beth vows to return to the swamp. After some discussion the Reverend agrees to accompany her while also enlisting the help of a group of local hunters he has assembled in order to put an end to Crowley once and far all. Far from being intimidated however once the party reach the swamp Crowley wastes no time in turning the tables on the pack of hunters.
Good points: *Hatchet 2 does a very good job of following on from the original as in terms of continuity it builds nicely on top of what has gone before. Hardly any time has passed since number one’s conclusion so it feels like we’re being thrust right back into the action without missing a beat. Not only is the story linked very closely with the first film but also some of the characters return which is always nice with much larger roles this time for Jack Cracker and in particular Tony Todd as the Reverend Zombie. Pary Shen who played Shawn in the original also makes a welcome return as Shawn’s brother.
*This time around Danielle Harris takes on the role of Mary Beth. Though ordinarily having the lead character return only to be played by a different actress might be a bad thing that’s not really the case here just because Harris is so well known and liked among slasher fans. Many may even consider her an upgrade. It’s kind of ironic though you could say that one actor who’s character died does return but one who’s character did survive doesn’t.
*In this second instalment a lot more time is devoted to the Crowley families backstory so we get to see more of Crowley’s parents and the events leading up to the villains birth. This fleshes things out a little more and adds weight to what was a pretty basic explanation given initially. Indeed what I considered to be a glossed over backstory was one of my negatives from the original so it’s good to see this aspect of things addressed and given more attention here.
*Much like with the first film it never fails to be entertaining and is driven along with a lot of humour which works very well. The Reverend Zombie character falls into this bracket as do several of the new characters among the hunting party such as Cletus and Vernon. Much like last time Pary Shen also does a fine job with his character and often raises a smile.
In a similar vein again to the first Hatchet the kills are very good from a gore and special effects standpoint and this time they are if anything even more plentiful and imaginative. At one point we also witness a montage of sorts of some of Crowley’s kills over the years which showcases many victims being brutalised in outlandish ways. Although for me their was a slight negative connotation to the kills which I’ll mention later I still found them mostly positive, good fun and certainly enjoyable.
Bad Points: *Although they do go into a lot more detail with the backstory which is good they still don’t properly explain if Crowley as he is now is a man or a ghost. You would think if he were a ghost as the film seems to be leaning more towards then he would still be a kid as presumably he would remain in the form he was in when he died.
*A very small thing here but I’m still not too keen on how Crowley looks. This is very much personal preference of course so others may love his look but for me I’m not keen on his face and I find him to be too orange looking and knobbly for my taste. This time around he also seems to be able to withstand a lot more damage with gunshots for example having little to no effect whereas he was knocked down by far less in the original. This is often the case in slashers though as we know so I can’t condemn it for that.
*As fun as the kills are as I said in my review of number one they are a bit to bloody and silly which renders the film to not be as frightening. I find it to be too much like an over the top cartoon at times. I find the same problem in several other films which have a similar style for the deaths like say Stiches for example. In a way you could say it sacrifices scares for blood, gore and visual flair as well as comedy. Having said this it’s still very good at what it does and it never provided anything but a good time despite being a little over the top.
Verdict: A thoroughly entertaining sequel which more than holds up to the very stellar original. It was great learning more about Crowley’s past and the introduction of Danielle Harris to the cast will please many. It was also nice to see Tony Todd back again and in a far bigger role this time to boot. One pitfall the franchise as a whole perhaps stumbles into is that going down the avenue it does with the comedy and style of deaths it shuts itself off from being very scary. It’s more about good fun than scares though and fun it delivers in spades.
Bodycount (contains major spoilers):
Note: I’m not counting the deaths of the hunters in the flashback montage.
1)Jack Cracker: Intestines pulled out and used to choke him which causes his head to pop from the pressure.
2)Chad: Chin and jaw obliterated from repeated shovel shots.
3)Cleatus: Face pushed into boat propeller underwater.
4)Layton: Decapitated with a hatchet while having sex with Avery.
5)Avery: Is implied she is hit between the legs and in the stomach with a hatchet
6)Vernon: Cut in half with a chainsaw from the crotch upward.
7)John: Same as Vernon above.
8)Justin: Head cut away to the brain with hand sander after being pinned to the door.
9)Trent: Curb stomped on the table and decapitated at the jaw.
10)Bob: Killed off camera, blood seen splashing up windows.
11)Reverend Zombie: Stabbed in the side many times and then cut in half. Is then grabbed by the spinal cord and pulled out of his skin.