Hi guys. Let’s get to know each other a little. Did you know that in my body, in my human form, traveling around and behind the subcutaneous fat, the overtaxed organs, the aching and tired liver, the underused kidneys, that the blood of the bayou pulses? No? Well, it does. The blood of Acadia, of The Cajun, pumps through this heart and powers this mind. I take this part of my lineage very seriously, which is why I took French in high school, why I really love “Les Miserables” and why I like to eat crawfish. Okay, well, I like to eat crawfish because I am fat, but also because my mom is Cajun. But mostly, the fat. Anyway, last week I was sitting around, bein’ Cajun, when Podmaster Bryan sent me a rather demanding text implying that I had not been expedient enough in my series watching of late, and told me that if I didn’t have him something within 72 hours, specifically something on the Hatchet series, then he would come to my house and kill my dog. Dude’s a murderous tyrant. So here we go.
The film opens on a land that calls to my soul: The Louisiana bayou. Ah! Home! Mama! How lovely. Amidst the swamp gas comes a father-and-son duo. It’s Freddy Krueger and his son Ainsley Krueger, and they clearly aren’t of the swamp as they are immediately murdered todeath after desecrating the sanctity of the swamp by urinating in it. This is our set up, guys. This swamp is broken. Cut to New Orleans and titties and debauchery and a group of young kids being debaucherous, including our writer and director Adam Green. One of the guys, Ben, wants to go on a haunted swamp tour, so he and a pal decide to run over to Rev. Zombie’s Freaky Deaky Boat Tours of the Swamps and Et Cetera, only to find that Rev. Zombie is actually Candyman and Candyman’s swamp tours are out of business. Forced to take a reject tour, our boys, along with some regular ole fat tourists, an angry girl and a couple of wanna-be porn stars, head out to Pee Swamp.
On the tour, we learn about the legend of Victor Crowley, which is basically “Jason Voorhees as Rocky Dennis goes to Louisiana.” What you need to know is that VC had a shit life and his dad accidentally killed him with a hatchet because, well, oops. Of course the boat sinks, and of course the angry girl, Marybeth, claims half her family was killed by ole Victor, or the ghost of Victor, or someone posing as Victor, and she points this out to everyone since they are all now trapped in the swamp with Victor, who chooses to appear shortly after this declaration, and Victor does not care for trespassers.
Victor can kill the fuck out of people, y’all. I mean, we are talking half people, jaw removals,shovel impalations, beheadings and blood-blood-blood-blood. So much blood! This is what I am talking about. So much over-the-top death, and finally, in the climax, we go all Camp Crystal Lake at the Swamp, and there are boats and hands and floating and sinking and then … it just … stops. What?!?
FILM-TO-HATCHET EQUIVALENT: You’re a 13-year-old boy who gets on a plane to visit his father in Canada, only to have your pilot have a heart attack and die, so you end up crash landing the plane in a lake and are left to survive in the woods alone with only your hatchet.
How great is it that the opening scene of Hatchet II picks up exactly where Hatchet left off? Pretty damn great. The most interesting thing we notice in this scene is that the swamp water has morphed Marybeth into Scream Queen Danielle Harris. That’s a nifty little methane trick.
So Marybeth escapes from Victor, almost getting shot by a nearby swamp person as a neat aside, and manages to make it back to Rev. Zombie, who explains how Victor came to be, and it’s a delicious moment in monster-baby-births, and I won’t spoil it for you. Rev. Zombie also tells to her that the reason VC killed her daddy is that because her daddy is one of the people responsible for Daddy Crowley accidentally hatchetting Victor Crowley, which seems to be a bit of displaced responsibility, but whatever.
Thus begins a terrible plan wherein Marybeth wants to go get her family’s remains and Rev. Zombie agrees to help her if she’ll bring along her uncle Tom Holland. Sure, why not? That’s not weird. So, with a group of Louisiana’s finest, our intrepid group goes back to Pee Swamp where they are methodically murdered by VC. Heads up, don’t ever put Victor Crowley, your face and a boat propellor in the same swamp. Or have sex in that swamp. Or go to that swamp.
Turns out Rev. Zombie thought they could offer Marybeth’s uncle up as a way to appease Victor, but she reveals that Uncle Tom Holland is part of a blended family and therefore not blood, which means Victor is still pissed and everyone is going to die, except maybe Marybeth, who manages to pick up a gun and shoot our antagonist right before the movie stops. Adam Green’s directorial style can be summed up in two words: Abrupt stops.
FILM-TO-HATCHET EQUIVALENT: You’re a 13-year-old boy who survived 54 days in the Canadian wilderness after a plane crash and are challenged by the government to live again in the woods with only two knives and your teenage wits, and somehow your parents agree to this.
Aaaaand we’re back. Marybeth has just blown of the head of Victor Crowley, and thinks she can escape, except guns don’t work on this swamp thing, so she has to shoot his face off and scalp him and make sure he’s dead. Since she’s now a murderess, she immediately walks, covered in blood (this is fantastic, by the way) to the local parish sheriff’s department, where she is promptly jailed by, I shit you not, Sheriff Billy Peltzer. Once Sheriff Peltzer learns that there are like 6,000 dead people in Pee Swamp, he heads out there, but not before giving an Earnest Local Journalist access to Marybeth. The journalist says she can help our heroine and they team up to defeat Victor once and for all.
Meanwhile, Victor, who is a “repeater” we learn, has reanimated and is going all cop killer on everyone. More death! More beheadings! More blood! Hooray! While VC is slaughtering the entire police force Marybeth and Local Journalist head to fucking Sid Haig’s house to acquire the ashes of Victor’s dead dad. (Jesus Christ, these movies are the senior superlatives of horror casts. I haven’t even named off half the recognizable people in these things — you know, because spoilers.The casting in this is like Christmas, you guys.)
Marybeth and her vengeance crew return to the swamp, where many people have had their arms ripped off, and attempt to thwart Victor. Unfortunately, Victor rips the last remaining cop into pieces, removes the head of the reporter and impales Marybeth to a tree — but wait, she had the wherewithal to grap the urn of ashes and flings them at him, and Victor turns into a goo puddle and maybe Marybeth survives?!? We don’t know because this is where the movies ends and there’s no fourth Hatchet. This is the most frustrating Choose Your Own Adventure series ever.
FILM-TO-HATCHET EQUIVALENT: You’re a 13-year-old boy who is the star of the Hatchet series of books, and your creator responds to criticism regarding the ending of the original book by placing you and your hatchet back into the goddamn Canadian woods, except this time he allows you to go back to the plane where you find a radio transponder and are saved by technology after all, just like a chickenshit little kid.