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Marybeth escapes the clutches of the deformed, swamp-dwelling iconic killer Victor Crowley. After learning the truth about her family's connection to the hatchet-wielding madman, Marybeth returns to the Louisiana swamps along with an army of hunters to recover the bodies of her family and exact the bloodiest revenge against the bayou butcher.
For more about Hatchet II and the Hatchet II Blu-ray release, see Hatchet II Blu-ray Review published by Casey Broadwater on February 14, 2011 where this Blu-ray release scored 2.5 out of 5.
Starring: Danielle Harris, Tony Todd (I), Kane Hodder, Parry Shen, R.A. Mihailoff, AJ Bowen
Director: Adam Green
» See full cast & crew
Hatchet II Blu-ray Review
Slice ‘em, dice ‘em horror, or a total hack job?
Reviewed by Casey Broadwater, February 14, 2011
When the first Hatchet film debuted in 2006, the horror community at large was quick to laud writer/director Adam Green, not as a macabre visionary—twisting the genre into new grotesque forms—but rather, as an adept at appropriating the grimy tone and splatterrific practical effects wizardry of "old school American horror." And by "old school," I don't mean the Universal monster movies of the 1930s. The Hatchet films are all about aping—and occasionally poking fun at—the conventions of the slasher, the teen-slaying subgenre that was born out of Black Christmas and Halloween and supposedly died by the time Wes Craven satirized its predictability in Scream. Of course, in the horror world, nothing stays dead for long. For whatever reason, the genre is entirely caught up in the idea of "homage." With remakes, rehashes, and reboots standing often in the place of originality, old forms are revisited with exponentially diminishing returns. It's a vicious cycle. Green did successfully try something different with his Hatchet follow-up, Frozen—a clever, suspenseful thriller about three friends trapped on a ski lift—but this leaves Hatchet II feeling like an unfortunate step backwards.
Scream queen Danielle Harris replaces Tamara Feldman as Marybeth, the "last girl" of the last film, who—when we open here, in Honey Island Swamp—narrowly escapes the clutches of hulking bayou-mutant/ghost/thing Victor Crowley (Kane Hodder) and hot-foots it to Bourbon Street, where she pops in to see Reverend Zombie (Candyman horror icon Tony Todd), a voodoo trinket-shilling entrepreneur who proceeds to bore us with the details of Crowley's sordid backstory. In summary: Crowley's dad banged the nurse of his dying-with-cancer wife, who cursed the resultant embryo before keeling over, and voilá—poor Victor is born hideously deformed, gets picked on by neighborhood kids, and dies when his dad accidentally hits him in the face with, yes, a hatchet. Now, his somehow corporeal soul stalks the swamp, killing all who come near with a variety of power-tools. And no, I have no clue how a ghost procures gasoline for his chainsaw. Anyway, Marybeth wants to go back into the bayou to recover her dead father and brother's bodies—and get revenge, natch—and Reverend Zombie oddly agrees to go with her. He's got ulterior motives, see.
But they can't do it alone. Zombie and his assistant (Parry Shen) put together a small army of local yokels by promising them $500 apiece if they come along for the hunt. It's a no-brainer for these firearm-toting rednecks, who all think Victor Crowley is just a story told to keep kids out of the swamp. Amongst other dispensable fodder, there's the standard-issue Blond Bimbo (Alexis Peters) and her bearded ex-lover (AJ Bowen), two good old boys (Ed Ackerman and David Foy), a beefy biker type (R.A. Mihailoff), Marybeth's uncle Bob (Tom Holland), and comic relief in the form of a suave thug (Colton Dunn) who sings a rousing little ditty about chicken and biscuits. Don't bother getting to know them, because they'll all eventually be reduced to chunks of viscera.
So, we're what, like, fifteen minutes into the film now? That's what you'd think, but no. This round-up-the-posse setup takes nearly 45-minutes— over half of the film. And it drags. The silver lining is that once the hunting party finally arrives in Crowley's neck o' the woods, the kills come fast and brutal. This, presumably, is the only reason anyone would ever watch a film called Hatchet II—to see bodies creatively flayed and eviscerated—so if gore's your thing, you'll be happy to hear that the film delivers. Eventually. Faces get cleaved in two by blades and pulped on the propeller of an outboard motor. A belt sander is used to grind a skull down to its brainy core, a jaw is ripped off its hinge, and the overalls-wearing troglodyte Victor Crowley runs amok with the biggest chainsaw known to man, which he uses to straight up saw victims in half, from the crotch up. Speaking of crotches, the most ridiculous moment in the film involves Crowley fatally interrupting a couple going at it doggy-style, a kill that takes a literal approach to the innuendo "ax wound," if you know what I mean.
Like most slasher sequels, you're really just getting more of the same here, so if you thought the first Hatchet was the best thing since, I dunno, Cabin Fever, you'll probably have a least a passing appreciation for Hatchet II. The kills are bigger, the gore is gorier—you know the drill. None of it makes much of an impact, though. The film eeks by on hokey humor and cheap, gross-out thrills, but the acting is across- the-board atrocious, the "origin story" is a joke, and worst of all, it's not scary in the slightest. If you can find entertainment in the mere sight of a fat, one-eyed fisherman getting garroted by his own intestines, well, Hatchet II is for you. Enjoy. But if you're looking for a meatier—that is, more substantial, funnier, or genuinely terrifying—horror experience, you're not going to find it here.
Hatchet II Blu-ray, Video Quality
Hatchet II lurches onto Blu-ray with a 1080p/AVC-encoded transfer that's murky and dim, although this is all part of the low-budget horror aesthetic. As with most productions of this sort, Hatchet II was shot on video—the RED camera, specifically—and sports a dark, grimy palette that keeps bright color to a minimum. Even the ever-present, perpetually spurting blood seems more crimson than Crayola. Most of the film takes place at night, and you'll notice that the image sometimes struggles to maintain a balance between black levels and shadow detail. While delineation is good, as a result, blacks are typically a soupy, noise-speckled gray. Clarity, then, isn't always as crisp as it could be during the darker scenes, but whenever there's better lighting, the picture shows more than adequate sharpness, with fine detail visible where you usually look for it—facial texture, clothing, etc. The image displays some characteristics that are common to lower-budget shot-on-video features, most notably overexposed highlights and excess noisiness, although I also spotted a some major encode/authoring problems, including a few aliasing hiccups and strange glitch around the 1:13:00 mark that appears briefly in the top right corner of the picture.
Hatchet II Blu-ray, Audio Quality
What's a horror movie without a kickass audio track, right? Thankfully, Hatchet II delivers in that department, with a DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 surround track that offers clarity, immersion, and plenty of burly, viscera-ripping sound effects. The mix plops you right down in the middle of a Louisiana bayou; water laps over the camera, wind blows through the trees, birds caw, and insects buzz. And this is all before you add in the grisly stuff— arterial blood spurting in the rear speakers, ghostly screams, chainsaw growls, and more. There's nothing that jumps out and screams, "Listen to how awesome this scene sounds!" but the track keeps you in the moment and on your toes. The music has plenty of presence as well, filling the soundfield and occasionally activating the LFE channel with gut-quaking bass. Dialogue, as inane as it is, remains clear and balanced throughout. A 2.0 PCM mix- down is also included on the disc, and English SDH and Spanish subtitles are available in easy-to-read white lettering.
Hatchet II Blu-ray, Special Features and Extras
Hatchet II Blu-ray, Overall Score and Recommendation
There was a minor internet outcry last October when the "uncut and unrated" Hatchet II was pulled from 68 screens across the country just three days after its release. Much fanboy ire was directed at AMC Theaters and the MPAA, but few took into account the possibility that, well, the film just might not be very good. And it's not. Sure, gorehounds will get off on the over-the-top practical effects—which, admittedly, are extremely well done —but the kills are packaged in the kind of generic, been-done-to-death story that has turned the horror genre as a whole into a shambling corpse, endlessly treading the same old ground. Nevertheless, the film will likely find a following on home video, where it's best represented by this Blu-ray release, which features a decent high definition presentation and some solid supplements.
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Hatchet II Blu-ray, News and Updates
• Hatchet II Blu-ray Detailed - December 30, 2010
On February 1, 2011, MPI/Dark Sky Films will release Hatchet II. This sequel to the 2006 slasher Hatchet, also written and directed by Adam Green, got a limited theatrical release in October. It will be presented in an unrated director's cut.
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