I always think you should strive to push boundaries and escape standard genre tropes, but sometimes a movie comes along that does the tropey thing so well that you need to just forget all about the predictability and just take the ride. The Hatchet series has done exactly that since Kane Hodder and Adam Green first waded out into the swamp back in 2006. Though we got a full trilogy that just concluded in 2013, Adam Green has brought back Mr Crowley for another round of slaughter late last year, when he announced via a (sorta) secret screening that he had filmed a fourth instalment without anyone finding out about it beforehand. I’m loving all of the out of nowhere movie announcements (like the last few Cloverfield films for instance) that have been happening for the last couple years because it kills the months or years long hype machines that come with these movies. I was curious how they had kept this project under wraps as the Hatchet movies have a fairly rabid fanbase but after watching the movie I think the fact that the budget seemed extremely minimal was a major contributing factor.
Victor Crowley see’s Andrew Yong, the only survivor of the massacre ten years ago, capitalizing on it by writing a tell all account of the event that left forty people dead. There are of course doubts over wether he actually committed the slaughter or if it truly was the axe-murdering ghost of Crowley, but as he stresses several times he has been acquitted of the crime. Yong is offered a large amount of money to head back to the scene of the slaughter for an exclusive interview, and despite his initial refusal he caves (see: large amount of money) and boards the plane back to Louisiana with a television crew. Get used to seeing the inside of this plane; we’re going to be spending a LOT of time here once the killing starts.
I think there were maybe four sets used through the entire movie, and I’m not complaining about that at all, but I can see how people who were expecting something a bit more robust would be disappointed. Even though we don’t get a lot of variety in terms of locations, the gore effects make up for it, starting out almost immedietly and staying strong through most of the movie. If you’re a fan of practical gore and don’t mind it leaning more towards the Herschell Gordon Lewis school of rubber limbs and fire engine red paint for blood you’re in for a treat as that’s exactly what Victor Crowley delivers. The movie doesn’t take itself seriously either, laying on meta refrences and jokes heavily and without abandon. I’m certain this was also a large contributor to the sour taste in many people’s mouthes over the sequel, but I didn’t find it to be horrendous. Some of the jokes fall flat but I can’t really think of a horror comedy that nails 100% of the gags anyway so people might be being a bit harsh on this one.
Victor Crowley continues the tradition set by its predecessors, keeping over the top slasher movie tropes alive in a time when we’re all searching for the next big horror movie that subverts or abandons them completely. It doesn’t come close to touching the original movie, but what sequel does? What i think it does do is prove that there is still room for both kinds of movies, especially if you remember that horror movies can just be fun midnight movies that don’t require you to dissect them across social media to find deeper meanings. Sometimes you just need to have a few beers and watch a swamp mutant go on a rampage.
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