*** (out of 5)
June 14, 2013
Danielle Harris as MARYBETH
Kane Hodder as VICTOR CROWLEY
Zach Galligan as SHERIFF FOWLER
Caroline Williams as AMANDA
Derek Mears as HAWES
Studio: Dark Sky Films
Directed by: BJ McDonnell
BY KEVIN CARR
Listen to Kevin’s radio review…
While I’m a fan of horror movies, I’m not drawn to gore just for the sake of gore. Similarly, I’m not drawn to overly violent movies just because they’re overly violent. But that’s not to say that I don’t like a good splatterfest when I see one.
“Hatchet III” is the latest and greatest splatterfest you’re gonna see right now. Fully embracing its unrated roots, “Hatchet III” sprays buckets of blood at the audience and delivers a tongue-in-cheek, self-aware horror movie that is actually quite a bit of fun.
This sort of thing is a gamble because while the boundary between comedy and horror is ever present, it is not easily walked. “Hatchet III” gets cheeky at times, and it’s focus on meta jokes are very apparent, but it manages to take itself just seriously enough to not feel like a prank.
The story picks up where the notorious previous film left off. Marybeth (Danielle Harris) defeats Victor Crowley (Kane Hodder), eviscerating him with a chainsaw and squashing his face in like a burst grape. She heads to the sheriff’s station, drenched in blood, and she is immediately jailed for suspicion of murder. A Crowley investigator (Caroline Williams) shows up, determined to prove the existence of the killer’s ghost, and the sheriff (Zach Galligan) brings a team of deputies, paramedics and SWAT team members into the swamp to clean up.
Of course, you can’t simply kill Victor Crowley, so the mountain of terror rises again to literally rip everyone to pieces.
I grew up in the 80s, which was the heyday of slasher movies. I didn’t see every film in the theaters, but I saw many of them, and I have a great affinity for the genre and the era. There are plenty of tribute films to these 80s slasher movies, but it’s a hard tone to nail. For the most part, “Hatchet III” does that, and that made me smile.
To often horror franchises – and particularly independent horror franchises – are trying to out-do each other with rape, murder and general nastiness. Not everything has to be “Human Centipede” or “A Serbian Film: The Musical.” Sometimes a throwback to the mid-80s “Friday the 13th” sequels is all we really need.
Sure, “Hatchet III” is silly, but it’s silly in its own context. All the victims come apart like they’re made of paper. The movie delivers big time on the gore, even if it doesn’t deliver on the logic or biophysical science that goes along with it. That part doesn’t matter.
In fact, the silliness of the gore – from break-away body parts that look like mannequin arms to blood spraying from exposed arteries like a beer bottle being opened after it was shaken up – gives the film an added level of entertainment value.
Finally, the cast of this film is fun to watch. Danielle Harris continues her fine work as a modern scream queen, Kane Hodder continues to find a post-Jason outlet for his talents, and Derek Mears has one of the best on-screen deaths you’ll see in the movie.
It’s still a niche horror film, but “Hatchet III” is a fun ride for fans of the genre.