I found myself at a crossroads when it came to ”Hatchet”. Part of me wanted to watch it and part of me just knew it was going to be another run-of-the-mill slasher flick. The bored part won out and so I began what was to be an interesting, only slightly predictable 84 minutes, in which some of the funniest lines I’ve heard come from a horror film in a long while.
The film opens on a scene of father and son (Richard Englund and Joshua Leonard), in their little row boat, fishing by lantern light in the swamp. In retrospect, night fishing in gator-infested waters might be considered a poor choice by some. It was definitely a poor choice these two.
Directly, we find the “heroes” of our gruesome little story, Ben (Joel David Moore) and Marcus (Deon Richmond) and a couple of their friends, in the middle of a Mardi Gras celebration. Unfortunately, Ben is in no mood to party. He’s just broken up with his girlfriend and just can’t seem to get into the swing of things, until he remembers being told about a “Haunted Boat Ride” through the swampy Louisiana bayous.
After inquiring after the boat tour and being summarily turned down due to “insurance troubles” at the recommended establishment of Reverend Zombie (Tony Todd), it doesn’t take our boys long to find another “Haunted Boat” ride and a small passel of eclectic passengers, including a smarmy “director” (Joel Murray), two eager-to-please starlets (Mercedes McNab and Joleigh Fioravanti), a pleasant if not overly friendly tourist couple (Richard Riehle and Patrika Darbo), one strangely quiet and mysterious girl (Tamara Feldman) and an over-the-top, heinously funny tour guide, Shawn (Parry Shen), that defies non-offending description.
As the tour begins, Shawn regales his passengers with tales of swamp ghosts that give off eerie lights, of pirates and treasure, and the most interesting and tragic tale about a man named Mr. Crowley (Kane Hodder), and his deformed son, Victor (also played by Hodder). Victor, according to local legends haunts the swamp, killing all trespassers. As luck would have it, they get stranded and our little group of tour goers heads off in what they believe is the direction of town. All Hell ensues and it’s a thrill a minute until the very last second of the film.
If you’re a fan of the gratuitous “boobs of horror,” “Hatchet” will not let you down, my friends – there are boobs aplenty! Puke too. In addition to the already steaming bowl of blood, guts and merriment, the cast of characters in “Hatchet” are not your typical fare. There’s just enough diversity in the group to keep it flowing and funny. You’ll be rooting for some to live happily ever after and at times, happily rooting for the villain to hurry up and take ‘em out. The actors were believable and on the mark comedy wise. The soundtrack was decent throughout. Short of a few wobbly monuments in the cemetery, a slightly clichéd story and the hard-to-find believable make-up applied to Marcus, it was an altogether well done and enjoyable film.
“Hatchet” is a wild tromp through the swamp with some verbal volleying that is laugh out loud funny. It’s a smidge campy and has flavors of “Friday the 13th” and “Scary Movie” and just a twist of the ever-endearing “The Elephant Man”. However add all this up, throw in some Asian-Cajun fusion and you’ve got yourself a healthy serving of entertainment.