Thursday, April 3, 2008

HATCHET - UNRATED

A group of college students and other born-victims are in New Orleans for Mardi Gras. For a lark, they take a late-night boat tour of the nearby bayous, and find themselves stalked and killed one at a time by a deformed, nigh-invulnerable axe murderer with a colorful legend.

Sigh. From the praise heaped on this by-the-numbers, self-parodying, routine stalk-n-slay flick, I expected something special from director Adam Green's HATCHET. But instead, it plays out as an 80’s slasher film fan’s valentine to the genre… a notably uninspired valentine without a single new idea or thing to say.

Yeah, okay, it’s nice that they got Kane Hodder to play their killer, "Victor Crowley." But he plays it pretty much exactly the same way he played Jason in the countless FRIDAY THE 13TH sequels he did. Robert Englund and Tony Todd have been making a career of cameos in recent horror flicks, trading off their fright film cred, but their appearances in HATCHET are so brief and corny as to be pointless. The main cast is adequate, considering the banal, predictable script, and BUFFY/ANGEL fans will enjoy seeing actress Mercedes McNab (Harmony) flashing her boobies. But that’s about all this has goes going for it.

Okay, to be fair, it’s quite well shot, and the pace is pretty good, but it’s hardly a classic.

The Starz DVD is of their usual high quality, with a pristine 1.78:1 anamorphic widescreen transfer and both 5.1 and 2.0 Dolby Surround Sound. The disc includes and audio commentary by writer/director Adam Green, cinematographer Will Barratt, and cast members Tamara Feldman, Joel Moore and Deon Richmond. Three are a handful of behind-the-scenes featurettes, a gag reel, and a trailer. There’s also a weird featurette that’s nothing more than director Green’s love letter to Twisted Sister front man Dee Snider… but it’s more interesting than the feature.

Recommended only for undemanding gorehounds.

BUY: Hatchet (Unrated Director's Cut)