The Direct to Video Connoisseur

I'm a huge fan of action, horror, sci-fi, and comedy, especially of the Direct to Video variety. In this blog I review some of my favorites and not so favorites, and encourage people to comment and add to the discussion. If you click on an image, it will take you to that post's image page, which includes many more pics from the film and other goodies I couldn't fit in the actual review. For announcements and updates, don't forget to Follow us on Twitter and Like our Facebook page. If you're the director, producer, distributor, etc. of a low-budget feature length film and you'd like to send me a copy to review, you can contact me at dtvconnoisseur[at]yahoo.com. I'd love to check out what you got.

Thursday, June 30, 2011

Hatchet II (2010)

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When I reviewed Hatchet, and was less than impressed, a few people remarked that it was the sequel where it'd make its money back. All the issues I found in the first one were corrected, and it was an all around better film. We'll see what happens.

Hatchet II picks up right where part 1 left off, as our heroine Mary Beth, played now by Danielle Harris, is in the arms of grotesque villain Victor Crowley. She escapes, runs back to Reverend Zombie, played by Tony Todd, and he agrees to round up a posse and take her back into the swamp to kill Crowley and get her father and brother's bodies back. He has ulterior motives though, thinking if he can give Crowley the two surviving grown men who, with Mary Beth's father, killed Crowley decades ago, Crowley can finally rest in peace.

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Okay, this was an improvement. The kills were better for the most part, at about the midway point it jumped into a solid forty minute stretch or so, right through to the end, of just great horror action that really worked. What killed me, as it did in the first one-- though not as much-- was a lot of wasted time, a lot of jokes that simply didn't work, and worse, didn't work and didn't know when they weren't working. For example, the first kill is fantastic: guy gets decapitated with his own intestines. Problem is, to get to it, we deal with a tedious conversation filled with a pointless avoidance of plot information just for the sake of saving it for later, which devolves into a guy yelling at Harris to leave, her saying why, and him yelling again, repeated about five times, followed by her leaving and him looking at the Girls Gone Wild guy from the first film's camera, and a joke about the girls he sees on there that also overstays its welcome. If the idea is "horror/comedy", I need enough of both, and the 45 minutes of neither is a waste of my time.

The shot launched back across my bow after this will probably be that I don't get it, which was why I made sure to include that Lloyd Kaufman cameo shot to let people know that, even if I post more action than horror on here by quite a bit, horror is as much a part of my background-- if not more. I know great horror/comedy, and I've reviewed some of them on here. I also know great 80s-style horror, considering a I grew up on it, and while this one did a better job than the first of capturing some of that, it missed enough for me too. It's like for every awesome dude banging his chick from behind after being decapitated scene-- which was awesome-- there were like three or four that were just a pile of unfunny jokes. The cookies thing wasn't funny the first time, but to keep it going? The conversation about the names Cleatus and Chad didn't work either, yet the movie was so sure it did. For the most part, other than the majority of the kills, the only good scenes were the ones with Harris and Todd, which makes sense because they were the only two solid actors, but why then try to inundate us with bad back story and worse conversation with other actors that aren't at that level. Just kill them off and get it over with, we're here for a horror movie for God's Sake!

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Danielle Harris was an excellent upgrade in the heroine role. She's hot, a great actress, has a lot of experience-- though isn't that old, not even two years older than me!-- and knows the horror genre well. I don't want to give away the ending, but let's just say she really sells it. It looks like there will be a third Hatchet-- there had to be, right?-- so let's hope she's cast in it. Oh yeah, and she wears a sweet Twisted Sister T in one scene. "What're you gonna do with your liiiiiiiife?"

I did enjoy the Lloyd Kaufman cameo, though I agree with someone who commented on my review of the first film that "horror cameos don't give a film credibility". My buddy and I used to rent up all the Troma flicks we could get at the video store, and another friend of ours, who was married (and still is), hated them, and we always tried to sneak them into his VCR when we had movie nights with him and his wife. I remember one that started with the classic Troma opening, telling us it's a Lloyd Kaufman/Michael Herz production, and the moment it did, that friend freaked out. "Oh, Lloyd Kaufman? It's another one of those stupid Troma films! We're not watching this!" "But dude, it's Sgt. Kabukiman!"

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I had to get a pic of the guy rockin' the Newbury Comics lid. Again, record store on Newbury Street in Boston, among other locations around New England, where I spent a lot of money growing up. Knowing that the director, Adam Green, grew up near Boston, closer than I did actually, and he uses local imagery like the Newbury Comics symbol, makes me want to like these Hatchet films that much more, but, I have to call it the way I see it.

And the way I see it is better than the first one, but not quite what I'm supposed be sold here, i.e. a throwback to great 80s horror/comedy/slasherflicks. Maybe for 40 minutes, if that much. Still, if he's getting closer, hopefully a part 3 will get it all the way right, and we'll get something worthy of greats like Bad Taste, Evil Dead, or at the very least Blood Sucking Pharaohs from Pittsburgh.

For more info: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1270835/

7 comments:

  1. I can agree with this review. The first half of the movie I thought was terrible. I was really upset...until the killing started then I was like...Yep. That was worth the wait.

    But yeah, it just seemed like we were building up to killing when we really didn't need to build up to killing. JUST KILL PEOPLE! We already know the dudes backstory, who cares!

    But I'm an Adam Green fan. I love his movies. I still need to see Frozen but everything else I've seen is fantastic.

    Have you seen Spiral? It's actually a pretty good psychological thriller. It's so weird to see a director go from a slatter movie like Hatchet to Spiral...that basically all atmosphere and tension. Then back to Hatchet 2 and then back to a tense thriller like Frozen.

    I think I read somewhere he's making a movie now called "The Killer Pizza."

    :D

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  2. The kills in this were really well-done. Also liked the whole Troma feel of the movie too.

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  3. I think that's why I was torn too, because we get a second half of the movie that was exceptional, had a great Troma feel-- or even Bad Taste with the great chainsaw death-- but to get there, we had to deal with that first half that wasn't any good.

    Frozen I'm not sure about just because that scene where the guy's hand is frozen to the rail and he peels it off freaks me out, but Spiral is one I'll consider in the future-- and I'll probably end up doing hatchet III if there is one, and that Killer Pizza one you mentioned too.

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  4. Yeah, I was also a little disappointed. I was sold that this was basically another Evil Dead. It wasn't. Hope exists though. They just need a hefty dose of Bruce Campbell.

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  5. Yeah, Bruce Campbell would go a long way, but the material has to be there too, the way it was with the Evil Dead series. Still, just by having Campbell, anything is automatically that much better.

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  6. I like the first one a bit better, mostly because the characters were more likeable. And to join the chorus, yes, the first 40 minutes of this movie is downright painful to sit through. Once the bodies start piling up, things kick into gear; although it's a day late and a dollar short.

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  7. Yeah, I was torn, but I can see where you're coming from on "day late and a dollar short", because that first half hurt quite a bit. It's interesting though, because apparently quite a few people were good with that first half-- not just excusing it because of a good second half, but actually good with it.

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