22 February 2011

Fin's Review: Hatchet

This week's choice was Clarky's and he picked Hatchet. It was bad. Really bad.

In fairness to Clarky, unbelievably this film has actually received some good reviews (Harry Knowles on Ain't It Cool News called it 'the next icon of horror'). Don't believe the hype - this film is bad on a number of different levels. Hatchet bills itself as an authentic homage to classic 80s slasher horror, but in reality it is a technically inept and boring film.

The smug tagline of this film annoyed me before I even watched it. I think if you describe your film as Old School American Horror, you really have to deliver, and they didn't. This film reeked of the mid 90s, not the early 80s - it was as if Scream had never happened. Hatchet attempted to achieve the same level of smart and self-aware homage to the horror genre but, unlike Scream, it had no intelligence and perhaps most importantly no tension. The New York Times said 'Horror without suspense is like sex without love: you can appreciate the technicalities, but ultimately there's no reason to care'. Hatchet provides absolutely no tension and therefore by the times the killings happen you couldn't care less. Sure, the horror geek in me laughed when the killer used an electric sander, but the self-knowing nature of the film just came over as smug.

The second main criticism that can be aimed at this film is the comedic nature of it. I personally don't like the horror comedy genre. I just don't think the mediums go together, although there are some notable exceptions (e.g. Reanimator). However, if you are going to go for comedy, make it funny. This film tried to be funny and failed big time. It kind of had an American Pie vibe, but not even the original American Pie - instead, think American Pie 3: American Wedding. In other words, lame. Lets put it this way: there was a running gag about genital crabs throughout the entire film. Awful.

Finally, the main horror character, Victor Crawley, was not good. The main reason was the lack of tension in the way in which he was presented. I mean, you saw a full body shot very early in the film and for me, if you are dealing with a hideously disfigured killer, you save the horrific reveal until the climax.

Basically, don't watch this film. Check out any one of the Friday the 13th series - even number 5 - and you will have a better time.

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