Hatchet is a 2006 horror comedy distributed by Anchor Bay Entertainment. It stars Joel David Moore as Ben, Tamara Feldman as Marybeth, Deon Richmond as Marcus, Mercedes McNab as Misty, and Parry Shen as Shawn. It is written, produced, and directed by Adam Green.
The movie opens with two men, a man and his son, out fishing in a swamp. They go ashore so the son can relieve himself. He returns to find his father’s mutilated body and the huge being that killed him. He tries to defend himself but it kills him too. The next day, two best friends, Ben and Marcus, have come to New Orleans to see Mardi Gras. Ben’s longtime girlfriend had recently dumped him and Marcus had taken him there to cheer him up. They decide to go on a swamp tour, so they head over to Rev. Zombie who tells them that he doesn’t do tours anymore because he got sued. He points them to a place farther down the street owned by an inexperienced tour guide named Shawn. They join a group that includes Marybeth, a mysterious and quick-tempered young woman. But all does not go as planned. Their boat hits a rock and begins to sink. After they all get safely ashore, and one of the tourists gets bitten by an alligator, Marybeth reveals the legend of Victor Crowley, a hideously deformed man who once lived in those same woods with his father. Victor was kept away from civilization because of his physical deformity and raised by his father. One night, some careless teenagers set fire to their home. Victor is alone and his father comes by and tries to save him. As his father is attempting to break the door with his hatchet, he is unaware that his son is leaning against the door. He accidentally plunges the hatchet into his son’s head. Victor dies and, ten years later, his father dies of a broken heart. Marybeth reveals that her father and brother were the ones in the swamp the previous night and had not returned home. Victor is rumored to still be alive and living in the area.
If, at first glance, you believe that this film is a slasher flick, then you would be correct. It’s a relatively old-fashioned slasher movie that may have gotten better reviews had it been released when they were “in-style” back in the 1980’s. For those of you who are unfamiliar with what a slasher movie is, it is basically a subgenre of horror. It involves a seemingly invincable killer, usually a male, who had met with some sort of tragedy earlier in his life that had changed him for the worse and is now a bloodthirsty murderer. Most of the time, the killer was good in his previous life and had some sort of deformity (in this case, a facial deformity) and was treated with incredible cruelty by those around him.
One thing that I got a kick out of was the appearances of Robert Englund and Kane Hodder. Englund, as many of us diehard slasher fans know, is the actor who portrayed Freddy Krueger in eight films. Kane Hodder played Jason in a few of the Friday the 13th films. As we all know, A Nightmare on Elm Street and Friday the 13th were a couple of the famous slasher icons of the eighties. This may have been a mere coincidence, at least on the part of including Robert Englund in the film, but I doubt it.
To wrap, if you’re a slasher movie fan, you’re going to enjoy Hatchet!