I am a fan of the Hatchet flicks. Even with the second installment being less than great, I still dug watching Victor Crowely ripping through his victims. To be honest that’s really what these flicks are about. Adam Green ( Director of Hatchet I & II and also writer of all 3 films) has giving horror fans just what we wanted: A unstoppable killing machine that is fun as hell to root for. So when I heard that Green has passed the torch on to a first time director ( BJ McDonnell) for this next installment I was a bit hesitant. Although a quick IMDB search revealed McDonnell has worked ( mostly as a camera operator) on some major flicks, the man had never directed before. Well horror fans you can put those worries to rest. Not only does McDonnell pick up where Green left off, he slaps his balls on the table here and gives even the most die-hard Hatchet fan a conclusion .
Picking up at the exact moment Hatchet II ended Marybeth (once again played by the always awesome Danielle Harris) is going to town on Victor Crowely’s ( Kane Hodder)face with a shotgun. After probably the goriest opening in horror history, Marybeth winds up behind bars and Crowely is in a body bag. In comes Amanda ( Caroline Williams of Texas Chainsaw Massacre 2 fame) an eccentric journalist who claims to know how to put Crowely to rest for good. Of course not before local shit kicker, Sheriff Fowler ( Zach Galligan) and crew make their way to Honey Island Swamp and all the gory madness in-sues.
As stated earlier, Green declined to return as director ( Check out Podcast #43 for details on why. Shameless plug over.). Instead he decided to promote from within and give camera operator BJ McDonnell a chance at bat. Without a doubt this was superb choice. McDonnell was able to make this installment feel “bigger”. The prior films have always felt confined and cut off, like you could tell it was filmed on a sound stage, but McDonnell was able to open up Honey Island Swamp and bring in the big guns. I actually mean big guns. This installment of Hatchet is heavy on the gunfire. This isn’t a bad thing, but where it really stands out that Green isn’t steering the ship. McDonnell is able to keep the series flowing, but also let’s it be known this is his film. The biggest difference is the lack of comedy in this one. Although there are a few inside jokes ( Most notably directed to Green himself) Hatchet 3 is darker in tone.
It’s a Hatchet flick so you know you’re in for some bat shit crazy kills and Victor Crowely is in rare form. Honestly the first 10 minutes features a death scene that feels like it was left on the editing room floor from Peter Jackson’s Dead Alive. The special effects are all top-notch here and the kills are on par with the rest of the series. Peter and Shaun Pendergraft really kicked things up a notch in the SFX department and Victor Crowely had a fiercely grotesque look to him. The Crowely make over is on prime display for the Derek Mears/Kane Hodder show down (an awesome wink to the fans). Seeings as it’s a Hatchet film you can take a shot in the dark and figure out who comes out victorious. You’d think after this long the creative team would have ran out of ways to dismember people. God bless those sick bastards, that’s not the case here.
Hatchet 3 is a solid ending ( something tells me we haven’t seen the last of Victor Crowely) to one of my favorite horror franchises. With excellent casting ( Really dug seeing Zach Galligan in this one), badass SFX and some over the top kills I couldn’t think of a more suiting ending to the series. Hatchet III is available in limited theaters and VOD everywhere!