Sunday, June 17, 2012
Swamp Boogie Continues: Hatchet II (2010)
starring: Danielle Harris, Kane Hodder and Tony Todd
Picking up where the last movie left off, wherein swamp hulk Victor Crowley (Kane Hodder) had his grimy hands on our surviving gal, Marybeth (Danielle Harris), an eye-pluck at the ole mongoloid giant had Mary escaping her would-be murderer. She swims to a nearby house owned by a gator hunter, who then shelters her until she introduced herself. For some reason, the ole one-eyed gator hunter panicked and pushes our Marybeth out of his house, only to find himself no longer alone, disembowled and strangled into decapitation, by none other than Crowley himself.
One loud and bloody opening credits later, Marybeth found her way back to a post-Mardi Gras New Orleans streets; mucked up and stressed out with all the mayhem that happened to her last night, she turns her attention to one Reverend Zombie (Tony Todd), who had more to say about Crowley's history than what was told to us last time. Turns out, Crowley was the birth child of a curse placed on his father, forced to cheat on his ailing wife when she was stricken with cancer. The curse had the boy deformed, his mother dead the instant she saw him and his father forever burdened to take care of his freakazoid son. What's explained next was the old story; one Halloween night, a prank gone wrong and had Victor caught in his burning house, with his father accidentally splitting his face with a hatchet in a dire attempt to save him. The only twist here is that Marybeth's father was one of the kids who had caused the fire.
Now in an attempt to rid the swamp of it's murderous ghost, Zombie pulls up a mob of hunters to finish off Crowley once and for all. But with Crowley's brute strength and seemingly immortal state, can a group of hunters be the answer to ending the horror? Or is there something else up Zombie's sleeves?
It's always been hard to follow up a big hype; whether you know your game or just lucky, a cult hit like Hatchet was perfect cash-in to the likes of entertaining masses with blood and grue, as well as getting a good franchise running. Better yet, with the enforced supernatural tone of the film, wherein the first just hinted, it stapled the Hatchet series a boogeyman that can live forever and a franchise that can be the next Friday the 13th or SAW.
However, like I've mentioned, it's all about gameplay; the first Hatchet was an old school throwback to 80s slashers. It knows the structure by heart and was even guilty of the sub-genre's shortcomings, which were quite forgivable seeing how great the end result was.
In Hatchet II, it's all about tie-ins; the film never felt like a totally separate entity as a lot of connections from the first had me wishing they just moved on and started anew. It certainly followed the tradition of Halloween II (1981) or Cold Prey II, but unlike those two sequel masterpieces, they try to stand on their own ground and delivered a film either more entertaining than the first or is on an equal footing. Hatchet II, with it's over-reliance on it's predecessor, gave up the plot (entirely) and just thrown in another reason for these guys to be around the swamp. All of this would have been good but the build-up to it was very slow and lacked any interesting new faces. In layman's term, it's just a movie about meat being butchered.
Speaking of butchery, the film's kills are a colorful bunch; still staying true to the violent nature of the first flick, the Hatchet II's slab-dab of gut pulling, beheadings, facial shreddings, crushings, and even an impossible skinning, had this film an MPAA's nightmare. (Hah! Take that!) Perhaps the only good thing about this movie, it's gore effects are still a good viewing despite the apparent cheapness on some.
Though, I can't hide that it can be repetitive and some are a bit cartoonish for my mouth. A innard strangulation until head popped? A man pulled away from his own skin? An eight foot long chainsaw?! I know I'm all for cheesiness but who on earth would even make an eight foot long saw?! And more importantly, how would you even use it?! Still, if you're the kind of guy who likes grue logic-less, all practical and non-CG, then Hatchet II's still a good run. Think of it as a really, really bad late-80s slash flick that is good somehow and you'll do fine.
In the end, it's surely a step down from what Hatchet had established. A sequel with more blood and kills, but nothing else. Luckily for us, it ends with another cliffhanger and I hardly believed this is the last time we will see the likes of Crowley; perhaps by then, we will see a true improvement. For now, I can see Hatchet II as a good timewaster, a video party rent, or a buy for Hatchet fans anywhere or slasher fans who likes it easy.
1 male disemboweled and strangled with his own innards until head pops off
1 female succumbs to sickness (flashback)
1 female "died of fright" (flashback)
1 male killed offscreen with hatchet (flashback)
1 male had his head split in half with hatchet (flashback)
1 male had his lower jaw ripped off (flashback)
1 male had his face sliced off with hatchet (flashback)
1 male gets a fishing rod impaled to his mouth (flashback)
1 male had his face repeatedly smashed in with hatchet
1 male forced face-first into boat propeller
1 male decapitated with hatchet
1 female gets a hatchet to the groin and chest
2 males goes through a double chainsaw splitting from the groin up
1 male gets a hatchet to the back, belt-sander to the head until brain exposes
1 male had his head kicked in half by the mouth against a table
1 male killed, bloodsplashes seen
1 male chopped in half with hatchet, pulled off from his skin