Dir. Adam Green (2010)
Marybeth is determined to return to the swamp where she escaped the murderous Victor Crowley, this time with a group of hunters who want to take him down for good.
CAUTION: MAY CONTAIN SPOILERS
Picking up right where Hatchet left off (literally after the very last shot of the film), Hatchet II delves further into the mythology of the vicious Victor Crowley (Kane Hodder), the newest face on Slash Rushmore. Marybeth Dunstan, the sole survivor of the original film, is played by Danielle Harris this time around, replacing Tamara Feldman from the original film. While the cast may not remain entirely intact, director Adam Green’s vicious sense of humor and nose for bloodletting remains. Green has stated many times that he wanted to make horror fun again, and he absolutely crushes that goal with the entire Hatchet series. By embracing the horror meta and delivering kill after cheer-worthy kill, Hatchet II brings the franchise forward into the genre-defining monster that it’s become.
Like the first film, Hatchet II relies heavily on some of the genre’s biggest names: Hodder returns as the beastly star of the show, Tony Todd reprises his role as Reverend Zombie, Tom Holland plays Bob Dunstan, and of course the always-gorgeous Harris leaves her mark on the series as well. This one is a bit more action-packed, with an entire team of hunters becoming cannon fodder for Crowley’s hatchet. As with most slasher films, H2 furthers the lore of the killer while recapping the background for those who might not have seen the original film, except this time it’s all narrated by Candyman himself. We learn more about the Crowley family and the curse that doomed Victor to a painful life and a vicious afterlife, giving the whole story the Freddy’s Nightmares treatment with a helpful backstory to explain why exactly he hates the citizenry so much.
The story suffers a bit as an immediate sequel, so the film is best viewed immediately after the original as intended if you can ignore the sudden Marybeth switch. Of course, if you’re a Danielle Harris devotee like me, you’ll definitely appreciate the change. John Carl Buechler is just a small part of the cast in this one and doesn’t handle the effects, but they don’t suffer in the slightest, and there are some truly gnarly kills within. Parry Shen is outstanding again, easily my favorite part of the film, showing off his dramatic chops to match the comedic flair from the first film.
As someone who would just about rather watch a slasher film than any other genre, it’s awfully refreshing to get a new series well after the subgenre was declared dead and buried. Scream was a wonderful surprise, but it was difficult not to imagine it was going to be incredible with Craven at the helm and a bevy of entertaining stars sprinkled throughout. The Hatchet series, however, was brand new: new director, mostly new actors (except for the horror legends), and a brand new icon of horror, came out of fucking nowhere. Every film in the franchise is super entertaining, and Green absolutely succeeded in making horror fun again. In a genre that, especially in that era of early 2000’s, was focused on torture porn and disturbing cinema, it’s awfully nice to see a bloody thrill ride again. The blood is copious and the violence hardcore, and there’s enough humor to tie it all together. Hatchet II may not be the best horror movie ever made, but it’s just about the perfect new-wave slasher.
Who this movie is for: Slasher fans, Gorehounds, Swamp Things
Bottom line: Creative kills and Green’s patented sense of humor punctuate a worthy successor to the original Hatchet. Newcomer Danielle Harris kills it in the lead, and every roles is played to just about perfection. Horror legends round out the cast from top to bottom, delightful fan service that helps to elevate the franchise as arguably the best new slasher franchise since Scream. This one is best watched immediately after the first film, and I can’t recommend it more. I’m a ginormous fan of all of Green’s work, and the Hatchet series is a must watch for any slasher fan. No better way to celebrate Mardi Gras than taking a trip down to New Orleans with Victor Crowley