Hatchet 2 (UK - BD RB)
Marcus watches another horror sequel that feels like every other horror sequel...
Kicking off where the first movie ended (so I’m told – I’ve never actually seen the first Hatchet), Marybeth Dunston (Danielle Harris) manages to escape from Victor Crowley (Kane Hodder). She later meets up with Reverend Zombie (Tony Todd) and gets the full back story to Crowley and decides she wants to go back to the swamp to get her father and brother’s bodies and along the way get some revenge on their killer.
Hatchet 2 is one of those ‘wants to be fun’ slashers. Within the first twelve minutes we’ve had some hokum back story, a man strangled and beheaded with his own intestines, one topless girl, one fully naked girl, a close up of a drunk puking on a street corner and Tony Todd entering as the colourful Reverend Zombie. That’s the first twelve minutes, including the metal fuelled credits. There’s no room for subtlety here. Oh and good acting, there’s not a lot of room for that either.
The all new group of cannon fodder that goes into the swamps this time are a mish mash of clichés. The hillbilly, the badass hunter, the smart mouthed black guy and the list goes on. Not one of these characters are anything more than a cardboard cut out of horror bait and everything becomes a countdown to who’s gonna die first and how (just so we don’t have to hear the dialogue anymore really).
Hatchett II felt like a bad sequel even though I didn’t have the first one to tally it up against. It feels like it’s out to have a laugh as opposed to scaring its audience (see the ridiculous sex scene and it’s ongoing gags for all the proof you need of that) and with nothing new to offer up this sequel just ends up being another one of those horrors that I feel like I’ve seen like a hundred times before and frankly it's really beginning to bore me.
The visuals here are stylistically gritty with a constant layer of grain to cover the pretty dull lighting. The colourisation of the film gives skin tones a paler look and the same goes for most of the colours on show as well. Blood can look deep red sometimes but others closer to pink and man does it look watery a lot of the time. The image is nice and sharp and offers up a good level of detail and in the brighter scenes looks grain free and strikingly clean especially in the outdoor swamp scenes. The darker night scenes have plenty of deep blacks but feel a little shy of pure black and give the image a hazy look from time to time. Generally it’s a good transfer but it’s nothing to get excited about.
The DTS-HD Master Audio track is all about aggression. Short sharp bursts of loud jump inducing score to make this not-so-scary movie feel scary, loud screams, stupidly over the top sound effects for ripping flesh and blood sprays as well as a constant underlying bass to try and generate a sense of unease. The generic sounding score when it’s not going for the scares is really dull but it’s well placed in the mix and while a large chunk of the audio lives in the front speakers there’s always some element living in the rears. Chirping swamp sounds, moving foliage and birds fill the room and with the bassy atmospheric score holding it altogether the tracks a strong one even if it is boringly typical for the genre.
The first commentary with director Adam Green, cinematographer Will Barrat and makeup supervisor Robert Pendergraft is technical as you’d expect from these participants but the group are a fun combination. There’s lot of talk about how shots were achieved and everything is delivered with a sense of humour that they obviously all share. It’s a good track with a lot of detail.
The second track from Adam Green and actors Kane Hodder and Tony Todd is also a nice companion piece to the movie. It’s a slightly lighter affair with a lot of stories about the shoot and the characters but still offers up a lot about the sequel and the group that made it.
‘Behind the Screams’ (33:40 HD) really did highlight the 'friends having a laugh' approach to making a horror but everyone feels likable enough and the making of gives us a look at the design of the kills, the visual style and plenty of behind the scenes footage. Despite my indifference towards the film this is a good look at the making of it and offers up plenty of enjoyable insights.
‘First Look’ (08:16 HD) is a shorter sharper version of the making of and serves as a preview for the movie itself. ‘Meet the FX Team’ (06:15 HD) is - as is usually the case with horror extras - showing us how they did the gory stuff. Sadly most of it is footage from the film with the FX guys telling us how they did it as opposed to showing us but it was fun none the less.
Last up is the TV spot (00:34 HD), the teaser (01:15 HD) and the trailer (01:57 HD).
Hatchet 2 was throw away horror sequel typicalness. I’m sure if there are any fans of the series they’ll have some fun with it but for me the only interest I had was as a bit of pre-awareness for the upcoming Hack/Slash comic cross over which I’ll be reading (Cassie Hack and Vlad shouldn’t have any problems with this one I’d imagine). The Blu-ray itself has some good features including a couple of fun commentary tracks and the A/V is solid despite feeling a bit bland.
* Note: The below images are taken from the Blu-ray release and resized for the page. Full-resolution captures are available by clicking individual images, but due to .jpg compression they are not necessarily representative of the quality of the transfer.
Review by Marcus Doidge
Suitable only for persons of 18 years and over
Release Date: 29th August 2011
Disc Type: Blu-ray Disc
Audio: DTS-HD MAster Audio 5.1 English
Extras: Commentaries, Making of, Featurettes, Trailers
Easter Egg: No
Director: Adam Green
Cast: Danielle Harris, Tony Todd, Kane Hodder, Parry Shen
Length: 85 minutes
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