/horror gets swampy with “Hatchet” (2006)


ArieScope Pictures

ArieScope Pictures

Baddie: Swamps! Never trust one.

Lesson: That tour is probably as cheap as it looks.

A few weeks ago I watched the disappointing Digging Up The Marrow directed by horror cult pseudo-legend Adam Green who is probably most famous for his Hatchet series, so I finally decided to check it out. It’s a no-holds barred sort of movie, launching in immediately with piss jokes, gay jokes, evisceration and crocodiles. It’s also pretty immediately camp-tastic, set in New Orleans bayou and city (cue Mardi Gras boobs) with a Marilyn Manson soundtrack.

Have you ever seen satirical movies like Scary Movie? The first in that series does racist/sexy humor in sort of a self-parodying way. Hatchet is more…offensive than that. Green spends a lot of time making sure that we know that pretty much everyone deserves to die, from the Asian tour guide with the affected Louisiana accent (That switches to an affected Chinese accent) to the two porn stars and their director who flash their boobs and ‘woo’ about ever 15 minutes. There’s a naive Minnesota couple and a bored black friend to console our lonely protagonist Ben and a mysterious girl to play his love interest. Naturally, they all get stranded in the bayou during a ‘haunted swamp tour’.

The Hatchet myth is the story of Victor Crowley, a disfigured child hidden away by his father in the swamp. One Halloween he dies after his father accidentally hatchets him to death while trying to save him from a house fire. Naturally. Now Hatchet lives to tear apart tourists in the goriest way possible.

ArieScope Pictures

ArieScope Pictures

Now, scare-wise, much like Marrow, there are some very effective jump scares. I have my pet peeves about jump scares, but honestly Green seems to use them sparingly enough that they work better than you’d think.

I would like to take this time to re-emphasize that Hatchet is unabashedly one of the most gory horror films I’ve ever seen. There is no shame, everything is on camera and the effects hold up decently well to the direct camera work. Some slasher movies give you little snippets of violence and start of cryptic and build to a gory finish, but Hatchet takes the approach of BAM MURDER half an hour of dialogue OH GOD HATCHET TO THE FACE

Not all the humor is crass, but most of it is is. There are cute little jokes, like a ringtone cheerily chirping “I don’t wanna wait, for our lives to be over,”

ArieScope Pictures

ArieScope Pictures

All in all, Hatchet seems like the sort of movie I should have watched with a beer or two and a friend or too instead of hastily alone in my apartment with my cat. She doesn’t laugh at the same jokes as me. Potentially a fun party movie, but not as ridiculous as some others, which made it feel a little bit amateur-ish. You can, however, really tell the intent Green had, which was to make a bloody campy slasher flick, and I can see why it has some cult following status. I’ll probably get to the others in the series at some point soon, so keep an eye out.

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