Movies From the Black Lagoon: Hatchet II

Movies From the Black Lagoon
Hatchet II - 2010, unrated
By Tom Doty
Weekly Contributing Writer

The lone survivor of a massacre returns to the scene of the crime with a small army of mercenaries for some righteous payback in this sequel.
Hatchet, the first, was a rollicking return to the 80's style of slasher flicks. The sequel, however, is firmly rooted in modern fare with an emphasis on action and some of the most outrageous gore scenes ever put to celluloid. Forget your standard decapitations. This sequel aims to do things bigger film and makes that clear with the first killing, during which a character is disemboweled and then dragged around a cabin by his large intestine.
The slight story picks up at the end of the first film with only Marybeth left standing after swamp legend Victor Crowley goes on a killing spree killing spree. He has quite a back-story, which is recounted by Marybeth to a local hunter who offers her shelter. Crowley is a deformed monster who was the product of an adulteress affair between his dad and the nurse he hired to care for his illing spouse. The wife tumbled to the affair and cursed the pair as well their unborn child before passing on. Nursey dies in childbirth so dad raises the deformed Victor. Their life in a backwoods Louisiana bayou is not perfect but at least its isolated and they actually thrive.
Later a few locals tumble to the story of a deformed child in the woods and accidentally cause the boy to be trapped in a burning cabin. Dad shows up in time to plunge a hatchet through the cabin door and squarely into junior's head. However the boy comes back as a crazed ghost who preys on anyone that ventures into the swamp he calls home.
Brother Zombie is a New Orleans witch doctor/conman and he makes a killing off of swamp tours that feature Crowley as a boogeyman. The previous films saw him lose his boat and gaggle of tourists to Crowley so he opts to help Marybeth get revenge so he can get his boat back and make the swamp safe for his next boatload of suckers.
They hire a bunch of trigger-happy locals and head back to Crowley country and, of course, find him alive and as homicidal as ever. Crowley is eager to wipe them out but appears to have decided that no two killings can be the same so he employs a lot of weaponry to do his deeds. He is remarkably adept at using power tools in ways that are not covered by the warranty. He uses a portable sander to smooth off one guy's face and even experiments with his hatchet by seeing how many blows it takes to stave in a skull with the blunt end. It all leads to another finale with Marybeth who shows that it is possible to take out an unstoppable bad guy but you have to be willing to get a little dirty.
This one is a corker and shows how cool 80's horror would have been if director/writer Adam Green hadn't been in diapers while it was going down. He crafts the ultimate sequel to a gore flick by upping the body count, answering any lingering questions, and giving it all a definite ending before it becomes a ridiculous franchise. He also shows a love of the genre by casting Danielle Harris (Halloween 4 and 5) as Marybeth and bringing back Tony Todd (Candyman) as Zombie. He also gets points for giving non-make-up roles to the actors who played Jason Voorhees (Kane Hodder) and Leatherface (R.A. Mihailoff). Good stuff that won't tax your brain though it has a fair shot at upsetting your stomach.
Best Line: "You got out of there alive? And with all your pieces?"

Tom Doty occasionally emerges from the Lagoon to check his e-mail and to read to children every Wednesday at 10:30am at Borders in Hagerstown. If you'd like to get a message to him, write to: dotyfox@myactv.net.