Tuesday, April 26, 2016

Hatchet II

3/4

Starring: Danielle Harris, Tony Todd, Kane Hodder, Parry Shen, Tom Holland

The version being reviewed is unrated.  For the record, the theatrical cut is rated R for Strong Bloody Horror Violence, Sexual Content, Nudity and Language

A movie like "Hatchet II" cannot be reviewed as a normal movie.  It's goals are different from a movie like "Halloween."  Or "Scream," for that matter.  None of it is intended to be taken seriously.  Well, not too seriously.  Like the first film, writer/director Adam Green finds the sweet spot between scares and laughs.  Also like the first one, he does so with gusto.

And does he ever!  While no one could argue that the original shied away from the red stuff (quite the opposite in fact), Green has upped the ante.  The ways the characters in this movie meet their grisly ends is over-the-top for even a horror movie.  Blood and body parts fly everywhere in quantities that exceed normal units of measure.  It becomes giggle inducing.  When a character gets strangled (with his own intestines...natch!) so tightly that his head pops off, it's impossible to take seriously.  And that's just how Green wants it to be.

Despite the fact that it was made four years later, the time elapsed between "Hatchet" and "Hatchet II" is about a second.  Marybeth Dunstan (Harris), the lone survivor of the ill-fated expedition in the previous film, has been rescued by a local (John Carl Buechler).  He cares for her until she tells him who she is.  Then he freaks and throws her out of his house.  He tells her to go see Reverend Zombie (Todd), who knows all about her past.  When she insists on going back for the bodies of her dearly departed father and brother (or what's left of them), Reverend Zombie agrees, although he has some ulterior motives that he neglects to tell her or her Uncle Bob (Holland).  So with a ragtag group of hunters that display just about every redneck stereotype you can think of, the set off to kill Victor Crowley.

Like most sequels, this isn't as good as the original.  Don't get me wrong, it's still a lot of fun.  Those who liked the 2006 film will like this one.  But the spark of inspiration is gone.  It's not as fresh or funny, and there are times when it seems like it was made to cash in on a "brand name."

The acting is solid.  Danielle Harris, best known for playing Jamie Lloyd in "Halloween 4: The Return of Michael Meyers" and "Halloween 5" takes over the role from Tamara Feldman, although she's clearly not the greatest actress.  Tony Todd is at his creepy best as Reverend Zombie.  Parry Shen returns, albeit not as the same character (he plays Shawn's brother Justin).  The role of Victor Crowley is once again played by Kane Hodder.

"Hatchet II" is pretty much what you expect it to be.  If you liked the first one, you'll have a great time.  If you didn't, skip it.

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