DIRECTOR BJ McDonnell WRITER Adam Green STARS Danielle Harris; Kane Hodder; Zach Galligan DVD 31 March
REVIEW Lloyd Haynes
The third instalment in Adam Green’s brutal slasher series — this time the directing duties are handled by BJ McDonnell, with Green writing and producing — weaves outrageous, graphic killings around a narrative dead end, replicating the faults of the 1980s franchises it desperately tries to imitate.
In a reprise of the ending of Hatchet II (2010), Marybeth (Danielle Harris) kills the monstrous Victor Crowley (played once again by Kane Hodder) by first blowing his face off with a shotgun and then slicing his body in half with a chainsaw. Collecting his scalp as evidence of Crowley’s demise, Marybeth wanders into a nearby police station drenched in blood, only for the local sheriff (Zach Galligan) to place her under arrest despite giving him a brief run-through of the previous film’s events. While the sheriff leads a team of police officers and paramedics into the swamp to investigate (where they are later joined by a gung-ho SWAT team), Marybeth is visited by Amanda (Caroline Williams), the sheriff’s ex-wife, a journalist who explains that Crowley is a ‘repeater’: he will continue to be resurrected as a vengeful demon unless his father’s ashes are returned to him (it is revealed that Marybeth’s own father was involved in Thomas Crowley’s death years earlier).
The body count is huge, the dialogue abysmal, the story perfunctory at best, and the film is shot with a complete absence of visual style, yet the enthusiastic manner with which it piles gory set-pieces on top of one another ensures that it never becomes tiresome (the filmmakers should be commended for relying on raw make-up effects rather than CG splatter). Williams attacks her role with relish, and there’s a welcome cameo from Sid Haig as a racist Korean War veteran who possesses the vital urn which will bring Crowley’s murderous rampages to an end. The open-ended conclusion, however, suggests more of the same will follow in Hatchet IV.