Hatchet 3 begins as it means to go on with some over-the-top gore gags and our feisty heroine covered in blood. Marybeth Dunston bisects the not so gentle giant Viktor Crowley (Hodder) in this film’s prologue, which starts seconds after the end of Hatchet II. Cue some thrashy metal music over the opening credits; a song which I think featured the word ‘genocide’ rather a lot – fitting for the rest of the film!
The traumatised Marybeth then heads to the local cop shop where she is promptly arrested on suspicion of murder. The sheriff doesn’t believe that she was fighting Viktor Crowley’s ghost so sends in a bunch of his staff and paramedics to investigate the swamp she’s just vacated. They find lots of bodies, including Viktor’s who, wouldn’t you know it, is still ‘alive’, well sort of, and he starts to attack the emergency services guys, lopping arms and legs off with wild abandon, squishing and frying heads, and generally playing with his food.
Back at the cop shop, the sheriff’s ex-wife, Amanda Pullman, (who’s also a journalist, one who’s obsessed with Crowley), bags an interview with the girl and persuades Marybeth and her cop guard to head over to Viktor’s uncle’s house to reclaim Viktor’s father’s ashes, as only when Crowley is in possession of these can he be finally laid to rest, i.e. killed – or something like that! Cue a rather embarrassing scene whereby Viktor’s uncle, Abbot MacMullen, (played by genre legend Sid Haig) displays out-and-out racism towards the black cop – all played for laughs – while they persuade him to hand over the ashes. Yes, it was mildly amusing, but I didn’t feel the scene worked very well overall.
Hatchet 3 follows the unwritten law of horror sequels, in that it has to be faster-paced, dumber, cheaper looking, but with more deaths, and more gore in it. This film moves along at a fair clip, just in case you realise how dumb it is, and ladles on the gore just like a tomato ketchup fiend might add their favourite red sauce to their meals, i.e. with a trowel. That’s not necessarily a bad thing, but the special effects in this film seem less accomplished than in the previous entries, although that might be down to the shear volume of them!
The main reason for watching films like this is for the spectacular death scenes and, for the most part, Hatchet 3 doesn’t disappoint with lots of stupidly over-the-top ‘goregasms’, mostly in the pulling or hacking people apart kind of way.
The main characters are lightly fleshed out before being dispatched in various graphic ways and the lead girl (Harris) seems to play only one emotion throughout, that of being right-royally pissed off, hence she doesn’t really engender much in the way of sympathy, as she did in the previous film.
There are more laughs to be had in this film, with writer/producer Adam Green obviously realising how ridiculous things have got so deciding, therefore, to play it more for laughs, rather than for scares. There are a few knowing winks to other genre films including the ‘deforestation by mass gunfire’ scene from Predator. There’s also an amusing scene where one poor unfortunate cop, who is trying to hide from Crowley, encounters an alligator close up, resulting in him being caught between a ‘rock and a hard place’; suffice to say the reptile ate well that day!
The film is well made overall, with some decent photography and the editing serves the kill scenes pretty well, allowing us to see the carnage, but never get bored of it.
Overall I’d recommend Hatchet 3 to horror fans, particularly those who enjoy their horror more horrific than scary, but I’m kind of hoping that they stop at this third instalment as I don’t think the story warrants another episode in the saga of Mr Crowley. A trilogy is enough, I think.
Reviewer: Justin Richards
Hatchet 3 has recently been released on DVD and is being distributed by Metrodome. There were no special features on the disc.