EmptyAnchor Bay Entertainment
NEW YORK -- Filmmaker Adam Green's obvious respect and affection for the slasher films of the 1980s comes through loud and clear in his indie attempt to create a villain worthy of entering the horror film pantheon alongside Freddy, Michael, Jason and all the rest. Unfortunately, "Hatchet," for all its old-school stylings, is unlikely to find a niche in a commercial environment that has embraced torture porn sans the cheekiness.
The film depicts a typically diverse group of tourists on a nighttime swamp tour in New Orleans as they are besieged by a homicidal bogeyman. He is Victor Crowley (Kane Hodder), a hideously deformed monster who supposedly was killed by his father years earlier in an ironic mishap. Apparently still upset by the experience, he has developed a particular facility with power tools, which he uses, along with his excessive strength, to separate his victims from their body parts.
The low-budget exercise does have some redeeming qualities. One is the setting, which is particularly welcome in these post-Katrina days and which offers the opportunity for plenty of breast-flashing to appease the teen male target audience. Another is the copious amounts of tongue-in-cheek, if less-than-scintillating, humor, which has gone missing in many such recent genre films.
The film's creators proudly announce that no CGI effects were used in its making, and indeed the frequent, highly gory scenes of violence are clearly being done the old-fashioned way, featuring endlessly creative special effects by longtime horror veteran John Carl Buechler.
Unfortunately, despite these elements, and the obligatory amusing cameos by such horror film icons as Robert Englund and Tony Todd, the film's qualities are overtaken by its derivativeness and lameness, with the result that "Hatchet" feels less like an homage than a mediocre retread.