Hatchet is a sweet, romantic comedy in which… oh, hang on, that was Enchanted. As the title suggests Hatchet is a horror move, either a homage to or a rip-off from the overly gory 80’s ‘classics’, most notably Friday the 13th. Is has the ‘isolate and kill’-setup: ship a little group of victims off to somewhere remote, where even mobile phones don’t work and start bumping them off one by one. This location: the swamps of New Orleans. The group: a little clique of people foolish enough to take a ‘spooky’ tour through said swamps, lead by an inept guide. There are c-actors you might recognise: Deon Richmond (once that cute little kid from The Cosby Show), Mercedes McNab (whose character – amazingly and hilariously – is even ‘stupider’ than her most famous one: Harmony from Angel) and Richard Riehle (one of those ‘He looks so familiar, but from where?’ actors). There are cameos from Robert Englund (Freddy) and Tony Todd (Candyman).
The killer is one of those Energiser Bunny types that just keeps going and going and going, no matter if you shoot him, stab him or set him on fire. A hatchet is indeed used, validating the title, as are various power tools, though mostly this killer likes ripping people apart with his bare hands. There has been a move towards what has been dubbed ‘horror porn’ lately, in movies like Hostel, Saw and the Texas Chainsaw Massacre remake, which show people being tortured fairly realistically. That’s entertainment, folks! This movie consciously spits in that movements face. The gory killings are way over the top and for the most part no effort has been made to keep things believable. The chocolate milk coloured with red dye flies everywhere. My favourite: after someone’s arms have been ripped off, this person is then dragged away by his legs and swung around through the air to have his head crushed against a gravestone. Don’t you hate it when that happens?
To the movie’s credit, time is taken in the beginning to sketch out the characters a little and the actors all seem to be getting into it. Especially McNab and Richmond grab a few giggles as the comic relief. Seeing how the group makes some really stupid decisions, you end up not feeling too bad for the people getting offed. Highlight: ‘Hey let’s have this person stand guard unarmed and alone with her back to some ominous shrubbery…. What!? She got ripped apart you say? I did not see that coming.’
Ultimately, how much you enjoy the movie will depend on how many of this type you have already seen. It all seemed very familiar to me and I doubt it will stick with me for too long. A sequel seems likely, but then don’t they always in this genre?