Slice, dice . . . and yawn
By Michael O'Sullivan
Friday, October 1, 2010
A good workman, it is said, never blames his tools. But in the case of Adam Green, the writer-director of the budding "Hatchet" splatter-flick franchise, that's just one of many things we could blame for the joyless "Hatchet II."
The implement referenced in the series' title gets such a workout in the blood-soaked sequel that whatever edge it once had has now gone indisputably dull. To be sure, the Jason Voorhees-esque villain Victor Crowley (Kane Hodder) is a jack-of-all-trades when it comes to implements of gruesome death. The deformed zombie-esque swamp dweller occasionally makes use of a belt sander, chain saw and his bare hands to dispatch intruders in his Louisiana bayou. But the good old reliable hatchet is his weapon of choice. Over and over and over again.
Skulls are split. A face is sheared off. Someone's mouth is reduced to a soggy pulp after being tenderized with the wooden handle. A woman (Alexis Peters), caught in flagrante delicto, takes the blade in her lady parts, but not before her lover is decapitated.
Dude, mix it up a little.
I know, I know. Fans of the first movie have lauded Green for his "old-school" moviemaking. Would Leatherface have been as lovable, they say, if he had used a Swiss Army knife every once in a while?
But I digress. In "Hatchet II," Danielle Harris returns as Marybeth, the sole survivor of the first movie's massacre at the hands of Crowley. Insanely, she wants to go right back to the swamp to collect the bodies of her dead brother and father. To that end, she seeks out Rev. Zombie (Tony Todd), the voodoo shop proprietor who organized "Hatchet's" ill-fated boat tour of Crowley's stomping grounds. Zombie organizes a hunting party, the members of which get sliced 'n' diced one by one.
It's tedious going, but it's not the worst thing about "Hatchet II," which also suffers from lamentable acting, murky cinematography and, for the most part, lamely unfunny dialogue.
"You like this better than baby Jesus?" asks the in flagrante delicto woman of her soon-to-be-headless beau. " 'Bout an equal amount," he says, in what is the movie's only real touch of humor or originality.
I'll go ahead and say it: "Hatchet II" gives new meaning to the word "hack."
Contains blood and guts by the cubic yard, along with obscenity, drug use, sex and nudity.