Ostensibly another in a ridiculously long line of slasher films Hatchet does however possesses a sharp sense of humour, great special fx and some genuine scares.

The gore-filled pre-credit sequence featuring Robert (“have-scenery-WILL-chew”) Englund sets the scene for the titular Hatchet and, like most slasher films, 5 minutes is all you need to discern his raison d’être. He exists to kill, nastily.

Cut to the next day. A group of tourists in New Orleans are at the crossroads in their holiday. Some want to stay and look at tits (escaping their hotel which Ben describes as smelling like “sweaty balls”) whereas Ben wants to take the Haunted Swamp tour. The Swamp Tour bus is populated by an interesting mix of people. There’s Mary-Beth, the troubled girl. An older married couple. Misty and Jenna, two girls shooting a “girls gone wild”-type video (called “Bayou Beavers”) under the direction of Shapiro (Bill Murray’s brother Joel) and, best of all, tour guide Shawn as played by Parry Shen giving a truly movie-stealing performance.

Before too long, this being a horror film and all, the boat breaks down and we are introduced via back story to the legend of Victor Crowley, aka Hatchet and a brutal attack by same soon follows.

That’s one of the keen differences between this film and any number of other slasher films. Hatchet’s attacks are out of the blue and realistic. Whereas in films like Friday the 13th Jason, via the point-of-view of the camera, can seemingly hide behind a single leaf and not be seen, Crowley makes himself known to the whole group in one go and that makes him all the more disturbing. Crowley is a lumbering behemoth (hence the casting of genre fave Kane Hodder) and he utilises a hatchet and even his bare hands to decimate the tour group.

Director/writer Adam Green is obviously a horror fan, using every trick in the book to keep you on the edge of your seat between and during Crowley attacks. The cast is uniformly good with special mention going to Joel Moore (Ben) who was previously seen in Avatar.

The commentary track featuring Green and several cast members is almost as entertaining as the film itself. This release also features a ‘Making of Hatchet’, ‘Behind the Scenes: Meeting Victor Crowley’ and the theatrical trailer. Stay tuned as Hatchet 2 is in the works.

DIRECTOR(S): Adam Green | COUNTRY: USA | YEAR 2006 | DISTRIBUTOR(S): Beyond Home / Force Entertainm | RUNNING TIME: 80 minutes | ASPECT RATIO: 1.78:1 | REGION: 4 | DISCS: 1

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