Review: Hatchet (2006)

D: Adam Green
S: Joel Moore, Tamara Feldman, Kane Hodder, Robert Englund, Tony Todd

I can't count the number of times I've been let down by reading reviews of new horror movies that call them "the scariest movie in years" or "as good as the first Friday the 13th"...the list is a long one: Cabin Fever, Joshua, Venom, etc.  Of course, I suppose you'd think I'd just learn to take anything that is said on Ain't It Cool News with a grain of salt anymore - seems it doesn't matter how bad your movie really is, if Harry or Moriarty know you then your movies the best thing since sliced bread!

With that said, however, Hatchet is the real deal.  It's not the best movie ever made, but it is perhaps the closest thing to the classic slasher movies of the 80s that has been released in recent years.  The script is smart, funny, but not in the annoying postmodern Scream sense.  The movie knows what it is, and follows its formula perfectly, down to every single detail (of course, having the canonical Jason playing the killer helps).  The cameos by Robert Englund and Tony Todd are just awesome, and the fun of watching each member of the cast get hunted down and picked off is really what you're after here, isn't it?

The story (well, what there is of it, at least) centers around a "Haunted Bayou" tour, operated by a slimy little Asian guy speaking like a Cajun (which in and of itself is worth watching).  He takes the tour group off the beaten path, down a length of river that's been closed off to all traffic.  Needless to say, bad goes to worse, and the tour group winds up stranded in the bogs and marshes.  And, of course, worse becomes worst when they realize they're in the exact location of the local boogeyman, Victor Crowley.  The deformed son of a local man who died in a Halloween prank gone wrong, Victor's ghost (or whatever it is) stalks the woods surrounding the bayou and takes care of any locals unlucky enough to cross his path.

Needless to say, there are nods to any number of classic horror movies, including the cameos.  There's not a lot more to say about Hatchet, as with most good slasher films the fun lies in the experience, not in the plot or the storyline.  Highly recommended!