Friday, August 12, 2011

Hatchet II (2010)

The return of blood and honey

"Hatchet II" should instead be called "1.5" as it's a direct continuation right after the events from the last scene in part one with Marybeth face-to-face with the muscular and deformed maniac Victor Crowley. After getting away, a deal is struck between Reverend Zombie (Tony Todd) and Marybeth (Danielle Harris) to go back into Crowley's lair and take him out and retrieve her father and brother's remains along with a group of hunters as their backup posse. Little do the shady, redneck looking locals know what they're really getting into apart from being blinded by the prospect of money but unaware of the bloody massacre last night on Honey Island Swamp.

The survival horror aspects are handled better than the first. Marybeth is still searching for resolution as well as the newly met twin is looking for his brother, while there are others returning that originally slighted Victor Crowley, and then there's the handsome reward on the line that people need despite the danger. It gives the story some more layers and certain deaths more meaning, while others, of course, are just included for pure entertainment fodder. The killings are still ridiculously gory, though the tone slightly shifted from less of the over-the-top cartoon side to a more darker and dramatic side with some twisted humor still intact that is more tongue-in-cheek than laugh out loud. Some characters are solely here to inject feeling, while others simply a token comedic angle. There's a little more suspense concentrated on with some wailing cries and build up before Crowley comes stepping out from a bush or tree to cruelly reign in his buckets of blood terror.

"Hatchet II" is a short and mostly direct experience that keeps the traction forward once it starts moving past the gradually paced introduction phase. Danielle Harris is new to the role but picks right back up and effectively plays a traumatized and tormented young woman looking for resolve. This still plays on horror conventions and doesn't provide anything substantially new, though you get a little more back-story--with "Tales from the Crypt" cheese written all over it with an ill wife, infidelity and supernatural curses--and some of the death scenes are inventive in their maliciousness. The exact rules to the game are never fully outlined apart from echoing that he's a "repeater," which takes away from the challenge and makes him indestructible. After watching the characters go through trial and error in the first, this time around it feels partly like a formula and that you're being strung along till there's another movie. Compared to the first, part two concentrated on more atmosphere with the settings getting darker but while still balancing a somewhat fun experience in between that fairs a little better.

Rating: 6/10

Director: Adam Green (Frozen)
Stars: Danielle Harris, Kane Hodder, Tony Todd
Link: IMDB

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