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LOSTATSEA.NET > FEATURES >

September 19, 2007
Rating: 8.0

Writer-director Adam Green's newest product, the horror film Hatchet, is a throwback to simpler times. It reminds you of those lazy summer days basking in the cool of the local cineplex's air-conditioning, watching whatever Friday The 13th, Halloween, or Nightmare On Elm Street flick that happened to be released that year (and back in those days, at least one was released every year).

Hatchet is a reminder of sorts, pointing out that not everything has to be about some grander story, with symbolic undertones and a cockeyed socio-political agenda. It doesn't have to possess deep, meaningful characters that are going to resonate well after the house lights come up, nor will it make you try to digest the story on the walk home. No, instead of all that, Hatchet is a bright spot in the current remake- and sequel-riddled horror landscape, a film to remind us that, yes, an original piece can in fact make it to the big screen without some prior installment, or an original version from the 70's as inspiration.

Heck, I mean the tagline for the movie is: "It's not a remake, it's not a sequel, and it's not based on a Japanese one. Old school American horror." I don't think I could have said it better myself.

Telling the story of a group of young 20-somethings (and a hilariously corny older couple played by Richard Riehle and Patrika Darbo) trapped in the Louisiana bayou and being chased by a crazed killer, the premise is ripe and ready to fall into the standard B-movie grade "wanna-be slasher" category. But Green brings to the film a solid mix of humor and a tongue-in-cheek respect for the genre that combine to make the film come off so fresh and gruesomely old school that it is hard not to love it.

Most of the film's magic originates with the cast, which comes together perfectly behind lanky Dodgeball dweeb Joel Moore capably playing the male lead, and the always-charming Deon Richmond playing his comic foil. Buffy The Vampire Slayer alum Mercedes McNab stays the course in one of the funniest roles of her career, which in turn makes her air-headed Buffy alter ego Harmony Kendall look like a rocket scientist. Funnyman Joel Murray (remember Dharma & Greg?) also steals a few scenes with his portrayal of a middle-aged horn dog posing as a film director but in fact wanting nothing more than to see McNab's... uhm, assets. Rounding out the cast is Tamara Feldman as the strong, Cajun-born lead female with a mysterious agenda. Creeps, airheads, perverts, beautiful girls - Hatchet has all the required horror staples, and it plays to every single one perfectly.

Of course the most important staple of all in a slasher flick is the killer, and Hatchet most assuredly doesn't fall short in that department. The carnage comes in the form of the massive, deformed, angry at the world swamp-dweller Victor Crawley (try to conjure up the image of an extremely crazy version of Sloth from The Goonies), and he wreaks blood-spattering havoc in virtually every scene he appears in. Clocking in at what must be at least seven feet tall and withstanding gunshots, sharp objects to the head, and fire, Hatchet's villainous thug is a more than worthy adversary for the ragtag group to combat.

The horror genre has been around for nearly as long as cinema itself and, as the years go by and as film studios become less and less likely to give an original horror movie concept a shot, one can only hope that there will be more Adam Greens to pick up the slack. A testament to that stale mentality, Hatchet itself is being released independently, yet another reason for moviegoers to check it out, to show that at least a few people still care enough not to want to see The Grudge 7, or Texas Chainsaw Massacre: Leatherface In Space. To be sure, Hollywood will continue to churn out ill-conceived and poorly made slasher remakes and sequels, but with Hatchet Green has proven that a bit of spice thrown in every now and then for good measure can go a long way.

SEE ALSO: www.hatchetmovie.com
SEE ALSO: www.ariescope.com

--
Trent Moore
Currently attending Athens State University in Alabama as an English major, Trent Moore is a contributing writer for LAS as well as publications such as soundthesirens.com.

See other articles by Trent Moore.

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