The DVD Shelf
I really enjoy horror films made by those who are fans of the genre so make the type of horror films that they enjoy. This is the third of director/writer Adam Green’s Hatchet series which his tribute to slasher horrors of the 80s such the Friday 13th series. These films don’t have symbolism or character: they just have victims and an excuse to get them into the kill box and I have great time watching and seeing all the new ways the special effects guys can kill them off.
Danielle Harris is back as Marybeth a young woman who was looking for her father and brother in the first film and looking vengeance for their deaths in the second film. This one starts with her killing the deformed undead maniac Victor Crowley (Kane Hodder) even though he was already dead she actually kills him twice in very gory manners and thinks she’s finished him for good but that is unlikely since this the start of the film and this film is not told in flashback.
Marybeth drags herself to police station where the gore plastered all over her and the shotgun causes a full-scale panic. Sheriff Fowler (Zach Galligan) wants to know what happened and sends a patrol car to check it out while he interviews Marybeth who basically summarizes the events of the first two films. I like a film that can laugh at itself and when Fowler describes her story as ridiculous and contrived he’s talking about those films. Of course he doesn’t believe her story and locks her in cell.
Fowler gets a call from the deputy on the scene and is told about the grotesque collections of body parts everywhere. Fowler tells the deputy to call in cops, paramedics and fire crew to assist finding all the bits and it isn’t difficult to figure how that is going to turn out. The emergency crews start appearing and one is a paramedics called Andrew (Parry Shen) who is played by the same actor that played two brothers that died in the earlier films. When someone comments on a body looking like him he remarks on the casual racism but it’s actually a reference to the brothers.
Back the station Fowler leaves Deputy Winslow (Robert Diago DoQui) in charge as he heads out to the scene narrowly avoiding having to deal with his ex-wife Amanda (Caroline Williams) who has heard all about the murders over police radio frequency and has connected them to Victor Crowley. She is a reporter whose obsession with the Crowley legend has made her a laughing-stock. Now Amanda has a chance prove she is right. Winslow is soon bullied into letting Amanda talk to Marybeth and telling her that she knows how to kill Crowley permanently.
At the swamp they have Crowley’s body ready for examination by a paramedic in an ambulance boat and the scene is reminiscent of so many slasher films where they have a killer’s body about to undergo an autopsy but he comes back to life. The film doesn’t bother giving us much detail of the symphony of blood and pain Crowley plays with these background characters but we get the picture. Fortunately the deputy gets a call in to alert Fowler and Winslow before he gets cut off.
The report from the swamp convinces Marybeth that Crowley is still active but doesn’t persuade her to go back even if Amanda insists that she’s essential. Winslow just cuffs her and puts her in back of his patrol car. Amanda needs to make a stop at the house of Abbot McMullen (Sid Haig) a crazy old racist who keeps insulting Winslow. It is an amusing scene but I just wanted to get back to action in the swamp which is fortunately where Amada and Winslow are going with Marybeth as their prisoner.
Sheriff Fowler gets to the swamp with his deputies and the place is covered in fresh remains of the first team. A SWAT team has also arrived led by Tyler Hawes (Derek Mears) who is a patronising arrogant tool and he puts himself in charge. Among the deputies is Schneiderman (Cody Blue Snider) a young deputy who is crapping himself because he totally believes in Victor Crowley and he’s brought a bag full of big guns. He is freaking out at the slaughter around him but the sight of testicles hanging from a tree puts him over the edge and he wants to walk off the job even when total prick Hawes has him against a tree. They get distracted by discovering Andrew who seems to be the only survivor and like Scheiderman he is appalled by the suicidal recklessness of Hawes. Now all the significant characters are in the swamp the films goes the same way as the others with all living flesh just meat for the grinder as Crowley chops, tears and rips his way through the cast until the he is ended for this film by the plot device.
I really enjoyed this film just as did the others. They are self-consciously contrived and ridiculous just like the Sherriff said with an incredible body count brought about by killer and a variety of weapons. The make-up and special effects used are the old style physical effects so the blood looks real and injuries look painful but the whole thing is pushed to cartoonish extremes reminiscent of Evil Dead or Brain Dead. Though the cast play it straight there is a strong streak of dark humour through film. This film is strongly recommended to those who enjoy old-school slasher films and strong keep away for anyone who likes more grounded cerebral horror.