Movies From the Black Lagoon: Hatchet

Movies From the Black Lagoon
Hatchet -2007, Unrated Edition

A talented cast and break neck pacing distinguish this return to the "slasher" cycle of films. Director Adam Green has said that his intent was to duplicate the 80's style horror movie but he actually soars above that goal by injecting the film with loads of humor and over the top gore. Unlike an 80's horror fest this one provides you with characters that are over 18 and actually gives them more to do than party and wait around to be killed by a super human psycho in a plastic mask.
The film opens in a misty swamp where father and son poachers are looking to grab some gators. After a banal conversation about the logistics of relieving one's bladder we get a first, albeit false, scare as the son decides to go over the side of the canoe. A gator (about the size of a Volkswagen) doesn't take kindly to Cajuns who treat his home like a fire hydrant and springs up long enough to teach the young man some manners and give him a stain that will be hard to explain. But that's nothing compared to the hulking brute who pops up next and rips them apart.
Next up, the film shifts to the French Quarter of New Orleans where a swamp tour is about to begin.
The tour group is an eclectic bunch that transcends the usual suspects in a slasher film and includes: Ben, bumming after losing his high school sweetheart, Mary Beth, a with drawn girl, Misty and Jenna, models there to film bits of a "Girls Gone Wild" style film, Shapiro, a film maker with no shame, and the Permatteos, a retired couple who speak like they walked off the set of "Fargo" to be in this movie. The group is led by a guy named Shawn - who knows jack about the region and even less about boating.
Their ride winds up beached but they observe a house in the swamp and begin to make for it until Mary Beth speaks up and states that it is the Crowley house.
She reveals that her father and brother went missing in the area two nights before and that she took the tour to investigate their whereabouts. She goes on to note that nobody goes there because of the Crowley legend, which made the area attractive to her desperate dad. Turns out, there is something to fear and
Crowley promptly shows up and hacks away at the Permatteoes. The movie doesn't fool around here and their fate is graphically over the top demonstrating that special make-up effects are still capable of blowing away CGI. The group panics (like Britney Spears when she spots flashing blue lights in her rear view mirror) and, of course, splits up.
They eventually regroup and we learn that everyone has a secret, especially Shawn who turns out to be a Detroit hustler still learning the ropes in the Big Easy.
They eventually decide to fight back but Crowley is as indestructible as any 80's horror creature and he proceeds to whittle down the cast like "Gong Show" rejects.
What separates this one from the pack is the editing, which makes for a quick ride (under 90 minutes) and doesn't allow for time to catch a breath. The real surprise here is Kane Hodder as Crowley, and in flashbacks as his own dad. He was always good as a lumbering killer (witness his work in the "Friday the 13th" films) but here he also emotes with the best of them. Top it all off with New Orleans as a scenic backdrop and you have a perfect slice of 2007 cheese. This should fill the bill for those who are starved for an 80's style horror picture made with more respect for the genre than most 80's filmmakers could muster.
Best Line: "But you only shot him once, right? Maybe you gotta shoot him more times, like four or six. Maybe you gotta shoot him six times."

Tom Doty occasionally emerges from the Lagoon to check his e-mail. If you'd like to get a message to him, write to: dotyfox@pennswoods.net.