Hatchet (2006) - Unrated Director's Cut [Blu-ray]
|Anchor Bay || Unrated - 84 minutes - $29.97 || September 7, 2010|
|Reviewer: Brian Oliver || Posted On: 2010-08-23|
Writer(s): Adam Green (written by)
Cast: Joel David Moore, Tamara Feldman, Deon Richmond, Kane Hodder, Mercedes McNab, Robert Englund, Tony Todd
Theatrical Release Date: September 7, 2007
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Note: The movie review is reproduced from my original DVD review. I did make some minor changes like spelling errors and other updates. But my opinion of the film remains the same.
Plot Outline: When a group of New Orleans tourists take a haunted swamp tour, they slam face-first into the local legend of deformed madman Victor Crowley.
Hatchet purports itself to be ‘Old School American Horror’. I’m not the biggest horror fan out there. Not by a long shot. But I do enjoy the occasional splatter-house flick, horror movies of the 1980s like Halloween and Nightmare on Elm Street. Writer-director Adam Green tries to bring back that era back to the big screen with his own creation, a monster named Victor Crowley.
What was interesting about the movie was how Green somehow made this ‘Old School American Horror’ movie into part comedy, part terror. Whether it works or not depends on how easy something makes you laugh or how loyal you are to true horror movies. For me, I found the comedy quite funny and the horror is very gruesome, but together it just didn’t work. Yeah, it’s a fun enough movie but it’s not scary... at all and Victor Crowley himself isn’t all that memorable of a villain, despite being played – under three coats of latex – by Kane Hodder (aka Jason Voorhees in Friday the 13th Part VII).
Some might complain about bad acting but if Green is sticking with the classics as his horror template, does that not fit right in? Sure, Jamie Lee Curtis was fine in Halloween but that movie didn’t feature stellar acting and I guess if the blood is rich enough, one can ignore a movie’s short(prat)falls. Hatchet features some OK acting from Joel David Moore – who reminded me of Jon Heder of Napoleon Dynomite and Avatar --, Tamara Feldman as the strong female character (Curtis has nothing to fear) and Mercedes McNab of “Buffy the Vampire Slayer” and “Angel” fame as the buxom dumb beauty. I think the best performance goes to Deon Richardson (Scream 3) who provides the sane voice of the audience. Horror fans will also get a kick out of cameos from Robert England and Tony Todd.
I give Adam Green props for trying something new and given his limited budget, he does a good job with what he has. Yet, I still didn’t find Hatchet all that different from all those horror knock-offs that have come over the years. Rental worthy, nothing more.
All the features have been ported over and actually include two new items...
Director & Actor Commentary – Writer/director Adam Green provides a new commentary this time joined by Kane Hodder who of course plays Victor Crowley. Once again, Green takes control with Hodder providing some more anecdotes from the filming to his past experiences. Green goes over more info on the making of the film without going over the same territory as they did in the older commentary. ** Blu-ray Exclusive **
Cast & Crew Commentary – Writer/director Adam Green sits down with cinematographer Will Barrett and actors Joel David Moore, Deon Richmond and Tamara Feldman. Moore and Richmond come in about 15-minutes into the movie, Feldman about the 30-minute mark. The group provides a fun track with Green taking control throughout but the cast recounts their own stories before bolting with about 10-minutes left leaving Green and Barrett time to properly close things out with advice for other aspiring filmmakers.
The Making of Hatchet (38:16; SD) – This fairly comprehensive ‘making-of’ featurette shows how the movie came to be from pre-production as Green and the rest made a teaser trailer to sell the concept to the difficulties filming during nights and wet weather. Here you get to see how much fun everyone seems to have on the project with Green setting the tone as he screams “Cut!” and runs out in a victory lap of sorts.
Meeting Victor Crowley (9:17; SD) – This featurette introduces you to the feature monster and features interviews with Kane Hodder and the rest of the cast and crew as they react to the creature for the first time (with Tamara Feldman taking the brunt of scares for an emotional scene).
The DVD also includes a couple other cool featurettes: Guts & Gore (10:51; SD) takes you behind how much fake blood was used and the making of doubles for the deaths of various characters; Anatomy of a Kill (6:14; SD) goes behind one of those deaths as Crawley splits own a woman (like how Schwarzenegger killed a croc in Eraser).
A Twisted Tale (8:25; SD) – This is a great and fascinating featurette on how Adam Green went from a lowly commercial director down on his luck to a budding filmmaker partially due to his idol, Dee Snider from Twisted Sister. It’s actually a nice story as each of them helped each other.
A gag reel (3:36; SD) and the theatrical trailer (1:48; SD) rounds out this surprisingly extensive set (all things considered). Unless I missed it on the DVD (completely possible), the trailer is a ** Blu-ray Exclusive **.
.::AUDIO & VIDEO::.
The movie is presented with its original 1.78 aspect ratio and now in 1080p high-def. Hatchet apparently a new HD transfer and for the most part it looks fantastic. I say for the most part because during the night scenes, for which 90% of the film takes place at night, it looks like the blacks are crushed quite a bit removing some of the detail from the characters and surroundings; however, this may be how it was filmed and one day I’ll find the DVD and do a quick comparison. Anyway, overall the picture during at least the day light scenes provides plenty of details both on close-ups and background objects. There’s certainly some noise but it only adds to the picture quality rather than detract and wasn’t a scrub job as some studios like to do nowadays.
Meanwhile, the Dolby TrueHD 5.1 track (surprising since Anchor Bay of late has only been providing PCM tracks) is crazy heavy and one of the more rounded HD audio tracks I have laid my ears on in quite a while. The opening of the movie starts out strong with two guys talking in a boat before getting attacked followed up by the opening credits and a song by Marilyn Manson during which your windows and floors will shake; pretty damn insane. After that, although things do calm a bit down, the dialogue is quite clear and easy to understand while Andy Garfield’s clichéd horror score reverberates equally from one channel to the next (as does the blood-curdling screams).
Hatchet portrays itself to have “brought back old-school American horror” and though I am hardly a horror junkie, I didn’t find much about it to be that innovative. Yes, the kills are kind of unique, ones that at least distinguish it from other indie horror films from years past, but overall it’s not any better or worse than others in the genre. This Blu-ray, however, looks great save for some crushed black levels and it sounds fantastic so fans of the movie should certainly pick this up.