Hatchet III (2013)

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“I knew that you were real. I came to save you.”

Alright, it’s time to put this gore-tacular trilogy to rest. The final entry in the Hatchet series, called simply Hatchet III. This one released in 2013, is plotted as follows :

A search and recovery team heads into the haunted swamp to pick up the pieces and Marybeth learns the secret to ending the voodoo curse that has left Victor Crowley haunting and terrorizing Honey Island Swamp for decades.

So, basically, we pick up once again exactly at the end of the second movie. This time, there is no jarring actress change, we still have to stunning and charming Danielle Harris in the role of Marybeth. Having just ‘slain’ Victor Crowley, she removes his scalp and leaves the swamp. (Not before, of course, we see ol’ Victor sit up in the background). Needless to say, when she arrives at the police station holding a shotgun and a scalp, she is arrested under suspicion of the murders in the swamp. Though, had the officers seen the carnage that was waiting in the woods, they maybe would have made a better judgement call as to whether this 100 pound, 4’11″(no seriously, that’s how tall she is according to IMDB) girl had in fact torn people, literally, in half. Or pulled Tony Todd out of his skin, but I digress.

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Now, with the problems that I had with the second movie, I was concerned this franchise would continue the steady decline that we see in nearly every other horror franchise. Delightfully though, I was wrong. This movie feels like a bit of a return to form, and really seems to embrace and amp up the spirit of the original movie. This is the first one that brought in a different director, this time around it was helmed by BJ McDonnell, in his directorial debut. Still written by Adam Green, the movie does stay true to the story and characters built up so far though.

Maybe seeing the world of Victor Crowley through a different set of eyes helped bring back the over the top fun we got from the first movie. Is it perfect? No. Does it feel like a more enjoyable movie? Yes.

This time around we have bigger guns, a bigger body count, and a bigger, better Victor Crowley. Not to mention, this time he faces off against Derek Mears who, just like Kane Hodder, has donned the hockey mask as the teen-slayer Jason Voorhees. So it’s Jason vs Jason and frankly, it makes it that much more fun if you are a horror fan. Especially since the remake Jason (Mears) doesn’t last too long against Hodder, and is basically Predator-killed within a few seconds of fighting him

Amazing.

HATCHET III / Director BJ McDonnell

The movie really does bring back that funny spirit that the first one had as well, there are a lot more likable characters through this movie than in the last, and that help a whole hell of a lot. We see the return of the, apparently, invincible Parry Shen. This time though, he’s playing someone completely unrelated to the two twins from the first two movies and for some reason, it just works and is a pretty funny gag.  We also get fun appearances from Sean Whalen (Men In Black, Waterworld), and Sid Haig (House of 1000 Corpses, The Devil’s Rejects) which are always fun, and the cameo performances in this movie always are played up so well. Not to mention, we get a fun performance from The Texas Chainsaw Massacre 2’s Caroline Williams.

Over all the casting really is improved over the first movie, and that helps get so much more enjoyment out of every moment.

We also learn a little bit more about the curse of Victor Crowley, and this movie does set up to wrap the story perfectly. There’s no more sequel baiting, this is the end of Crowley… probably. Which works, it doesn’t try to set up to keep going on and on, the trilogy wraps up effectively and satisfyingly.

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This movie does handle a bit more like an action movie than a horror movie, but that’s really not a complaint. The kills are bigger and more over-the-top this time around, including Crowley getting a rocket launcher fired at him, which… there’s something just so fun and satisfying about.

Plus, Crowley is his usual brutal self, and there is a third appearance of the belt-sander which he uses to … sand his way through a wall. I don’t question it, because the movie is just too much fun for that.

So, really this is a great final chapter to the Hatchet trilogy. It wraps up nicely, it recaptures the fun we had in the beginning, it has a slightly more believable reason to go back into the swamp, and it opens up more of the mythos of Victor Crowley without setting up a (really) un-needed fourth movie. Plus, it ends with a hilarious 80s-style melting that cracks me up everytime, and offers enough blood and guts to keep fans of the slasher-genre satisfied.

Myself included.

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I can’t believe I’ve written nearly 1000 words about Hatchet III, but there you have it. So, this one is worth watching all 3 for. Pick up the trilogy, have some friends over, and enjoy the shit out of it. You definitely will.

FINAL GRADE : B

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