I reviewed Adam Green's HATCHET (2006) when it was released a few years ago on DVD. I didn't care for it then, but I decided to give it another shot on hi-def. Unfortunately, my opinion hasn't changed much... and neither has my review.
From the praise heaped on this by-the-numbers, self-parodying, routine stalk-n-slay flick, I expected something special. 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 original thing to say.
A group of college students and other born victims are in New Orleans for Mardi Gras. For fun, they take a late-night boat tour of the nearby bayous, only to find themselves stalked and killed one at a time by a deformed, nigh-invulnerable axe murderer with a colorful legend.
Yeah, okay, it’s cool 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 several 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.
On September 7th, Anchor Bay reissues HATCHET on Blu-Ray with a pristine 1.78:1 widescreen transfer at 1080p HD and both 5.1 and 2.0 Dolby Surround Sound. The disc includes an all-new audio commentary by writer/director Adam Green and actor Kane Hodder, as well as the original DVD commentary by 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.
The Blu-Ray edition looks great, so if you're a fan of the film, you might want to pick it up. Otherwise, it's recommended only for undemanding gorehounds.
BUY: Hatchet [Blu-ray]