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Hatchet III – 7

Director – BJ McDonnell

Cast – Danielle Harris, Kane Hodder, Zach Galligan, Caroline Williams, Parry Shen, Robert Diago DoQui, Derek Mears, Cody Blue Snider, Rileah Vanderbilt, Sean Whalen, Jason Trost, Diane Ayala Goldner, John Michael Sudol

Release Year – 2014

Reviewed by John of the Dead

Director Adam Green broke onto the horror scene with 2006’s Kane Hodder-starring slasher epic, Hatchet, and it still remains as one of the best horror/slasher films of this millennium. He followed up with the almost equally awesome Hatchet II in 2010, and when I learned of Hatchet III I was beyond stoked to see how the legend of Victor Crowley would be put to rest. When word broke that Adam Green would not be directing the finale to the trilogy I was a bit disappointed and skeptical of what newcomer BJ McDonnell, Green’s longtime camera operator, would do with Green’s baby. After finally sitting through Hatchet III I am glad to say that while the execution is different than Green’s the experience is still just as gory, brutally awesome, and enjoyable as its predecessors.

After the events of Hatchet II a highly trained SWAT team is called in after the first responders are brutally massacred while trying to pick up the pieces of those brutally massacred the night before. With Marybeth locked in a cell and blamed for the massacre, the carnage continues until she learns the secret to ending the voodoo curse that empowers Victor Crowley. With one final battle left in her, she faces the monster that has been terrorizing Honey Island Swamp for decades.

Adam Green wrote this screenplay, and he ensures that the viewer will see probably the most gore of all three films. If I had to guess I would say that this film alone has more gory goodness than the first two flicks combined. The story literally begins with the very end of Hatchet II, which leaves Marybeth as the prime suspect for the gruesome slayings when she walks into the local sheriff’s office completely covered in blood and slinging a shotgun. Soon enough the sheriff, his deputies, and a SWAT team lead by the hardened Tyler Hawes (Derek Mears) arrive at the swamp to secure the scene and get to the bottom of what happened, and much to their disbelief they run into Victor Crowley. Not only has Marybeth repeatedly told them she killed him, but Victor Crowley is said to only be a legend – both are very wrong. The rest of the film plays off like the other flicks, with characters dying one by one in brutal fashion until the final fight between you-know-who and you-know-who. The dialogue is cheesy and I assume Green wanted it that way, leaving no issues with the story for me to balk at.

The story behind Green’s decision to tap BJ McDonnell as director is an admirable one. As a believer of giving someone a chance if they deserve it, he decided to give McDonnell the nod so that he could further his career. With the series since day one of the first film, the loyal McDonnell kept the film true to Crowley’s legacy – a legacy of bloody goodness. He hits hard with a great opening sequence heavy in the type of events that will compliment the film every few minutes or so once the first act is over and done with. Hatchet III stays true to the series motto of “NO CGI”, but I did notice the blood to be very different than the previous films. The first two entries used a blood mixture that was thick and very true to form, whereas this entry used a thinner mix that was much too watery and a bit unrealistic at times. This is not necessarily a fault, but something that I did notice right away. McDonnell’s direction is good, but it pales compared to Adam Green’s knack regarding cheese and gore. In other words, you can expect more of the same story-wise, but the direction/look/feel of the film will be different. The location is also different than the previous flicks, and you can tell. The first two were filmed in LA while this one was filmed in the bayous of Louisiana, just like the story’s setting.  While the setting will be more authentic, the atmosphere, lighting, and grainy ISO will not be as good as its predecessors. This also goes for the acting too. Harris, Hodder, and Perry Shen were great as Marybeth, Victory Crowley, and paramedic Andrew, but everyone else was lackluster. I did notice a unique choice in casting with the inclusion of Derek Mears as Tyler Hawes – the lead SWAT agent leading the charge against Victor Crowley. Kane Hodder is known throughout the genre as the “real” Jason Vorhees, having portrayed the character in Friday the 13th VI, VII, VIII, IX and X. Derek Mears is the last person to portray Jason, which he did in the Friday the 13th remake. Seeing these two giants battle face to face was a sweet idea that knowledgeable (AKA “nerdy”) fans of the genre are sure to appreciate.

Overall, Hatchet III is a fun sure that is sure to please fans of the series. I personally feel it is the weakest of the bunch, but that by no means indicates that this is a bad film. The execution is different, but nonetheless the gore is heavy, Crowley kicks ass, and it’s 81 solid minutes of fun.

Rating: 7/10

…Additional Stills…

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