All good things must end. Not so good things also.

HATCHET III

1 Stars  2013/18/81m

Director: B.J. McDonnell / Writer: Adam Green / Cast: Danielle Harris, Kane Hodder, Zach Galligan, Caroline Williams, Robert Diago DoQui, Parry Shen, Derek Mears, Rileah Vanderbilt, Cody Blue Snider, Jason Trost, Diane Ayala Goldner, Sean Whalen.

Body Count: at least 21


Another of my FrightFest previews, Adam Green came back to introduce the third and mercifully final entry in his Hatchet franchise, which, given his comments when he came to talk about Hatchet II a few years ago, he seems quite keen to move on from.

Handing the directorial reigns over to buddy B.J. McDonnell will likely be the thing most disappointed viewers will blame, but the sad fact is that Hatchet was never very good in the first place. Deduct the awesome cameos and Green’s unrelenting enthusiasm for latex-over-CG and it’s merely a sorrowful also-ran with too many jokes and too little suspense.

Thus, this one plays like something of an afterthought: Marybeth kills the fuck out of Victor Crowley several times at the start and then totters to the local cop shop where they suspect her of mass murder and lock her up, while cops and paramedics boat out to the swamp to literally pick up the pieces of all those tourists and game hunters Crowley disembowled in the first two movies.

Nobody believes Marybeth with the exception of Amanda Pearlman (Williams), handy ex-wife of Zach Galligan’s sheriff and firm advocate of the truth behind the legend. She convinces a deputy to take her and Marybeth to get the ashes of Victor Crowley Sr., which will reportedly stop the horror forever. Pressing eject also works.

At the swamp, Crowley miraculously resurrects himself and kills everyone except Parry Shen, who apparently isn’t related to the other two Parry Shens. Arms are ripped off, heads spun on stumps, spines removed… It would be icky if we hadn’t been down this river twice already.

Some SWAT people come in, lead by Derek Mears, who, of course, doesn’t believe bullets can’t stop Crowley, and the two former Jasons duke it out for a couple of minutes.

Eventually, Marybeth appears, Amanda tries to address the killer, more people die, and the ashes are put to their intended use, erasing Crowley from existence and ending the franchise like a damp firework.

Tellingly, the audience were far less receptive than they were for the Hatchet II screening; the series has largely regressed beyond its juvenile beginnings to something that plays as if all sense of irony from the Scream generation never happened. There were plenty of horror-comedies in the late 80s and early 90s that would sit alongside this without looking out of place; Shocker and the Child’s Play sequels come to mind.

Also curiously absent was the previously obligatory sex scene – the only nudity we bare bear witness to is Marybeth in the shower, and that’s framed so’s not to give much away. Not that a SWAT team responding to a mass killing would pause for nudieness but it doesn’t usually stop them. Otherwise, it’s a chaotic blend of shooting at Crowley, nameless extras being taken out, and the fragments of the urn-plan.

A real downer of a series closer, especially after how much better the second film was after the first.

Blurbs-of-interest: In addition to taking over the role in Hatchet II, Danielle Harris was in Halloween‘s 4 and 5, plus Rob Zombie’s two remakes, Urban Legend, Blood Night, and ChromeSkull: Laid to Rest 2. Kane Hodder played Jason in Friday the 13th Parts VII-X and can also be seen in Hack!, Children of the Corn V, and Behind the Mask. Caroline Williams was Stretch in Texas Chainsaw Massacre 2 and was also in Stepfather II. Derek Mears is Jason in the 2009 Friday the 13th. Parry Shen was in Dead Scared. Sean Whalen was in Laid to Rest. Zach Galligan turned up in continuous-take neo-slasher Cut.

4 comments

  • 1 got a 2, 2 got a 3, and 3 got a 1.

    … Cosmic.

  • I don’t get your beef with this series. Especially as a fan of the Friday the 13th films, even the horrid, cartoonish later sequels.

    As a slasher fan I enjoy the Hatchet trilogy. III wasn’t the be-all end-all of modern slashers, but one star? Come on, man.

  • It was by far the worst thing I saw at FrightFest, probably magnified by how good everything else on that day was… They just seemed to have given up on it in some ways and it was just so wafer thin with too many characters who had about three words to say before they died in an ‘ironic’ way. Loathed it.

  • Just watched all 3 over 2 days and really enjoyed all of them. I didn’t see 3 as such a crashlanding.

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