The Review at a Glance: ( max score: 5 )
Audio/Video total rating:
( Max score: 100 )
Studio and Year: Anchor Bay Entertainment -2006
MPAA Rating: Unrated
Feature running time: 84 minutes
Disc Format: BD-50
Encoding: AVC (MPEG-4)
Video Aspect: 1.78:1
Audio Format(s): English Dolby TrueHD Master Audio 5.1
Subtitles: English SDH, Spanish
Starring: Joel Davin Moore, Tony Todd, Kane Hodder, Robert Englund, Merceded McNab
Directed by: Adam Green
Music by: Andy Garfield
Written by: Adam Green
Region Code: A
Blu-ray Disc release Date: September 7, 2010
"Old School American Horror"
When a group of New Orleans tourists take a cheesy haunted swamp tour, they slam face-first into the local legend of deformed madman Victor Crowley. What follows is a psycho spree of seat-jumping scares, eye-popping nudity, skull-splitting mayhem and beyond.
Gore hounds and "Old School Horror" fans rejoice, 'Hatchet' has every cliché possible, and pulls them off in a slick and fun package.
Deformed and scarred as a child killer, Check.
Gore, Gore and more Gore, double Check.
Road map to Crystal Lake, umm just about.
I dug Hatchet more this time around as I did on my first viewing a few years ago. I went in taking it too seriously. This time I just accepted it was not the "Old School American Horror" it claimed to be, but a more of a parody and rip off of the slasher genre of the 80's. When on, the humor was pretty hysterical, with inside joke after inside joke aimed for the 30/40 something horror crowd that grew up with these type of flicks.
Hatchet casts 80's horror flick icons, Kane Hodder as Victor Crowley and his father (who played Jason Voohrees), and cameo's by Robert Englund aka Freddy Kreuger and Tony Todd (Candyman) to appeal even more to the horror fanboys. He also takes the familiar formula of almost every Friday the 13th flick as a starting point to get the characters stranded in the woods inhabited by the killer and we get to see them all picked off one by one. The lead character here is male, unlike most slasher flicks that leave us with a girl fighting for her life. Ben is played with a perfectly timed hipster sense of humor by Avatar's Joel Moore. For the few things I didn't like about Hatchet, it gets big marks for good casting.
Hatchet relied on gore to scare more than plot. Thankfully its dynamic soundtrack had me jumping more than the movie itself. I will give kudos to Make-up artist John Carl Buechler (director Friday the 13th 7) for an incredible job with the gore. Some sick gore and boobs are what really matters here! And Hatchet delivers both in spades. It also had an above average score by Andy Garfield. Even though it borrowed hard from Harry Manfredini's iconic Friday The 13th score, it was still very effective and a level above most films with this small of a budget.
For me, it failed on a few levels that kept it from being awesome. First, killer Victor Crowley was over exposed and over shown from his first kill on. Victor's deformity make-up was not up to snuff for me. It was a silly mix of Jason without the hockey mask and Toxie from the Toxic Avenger. A better restraint and more of a mystery on his appearance would have went a long way. It would have had a better effect showing him near the end rather than splattered all over the place. The next issue was how long it took to get to swamp and to the Crowley land. Yes, it was was and pretty funny leading up to the meat of the flick, but it really did take too long.
All-in-all a fun and worth a viewing effort from first time feature director Adam Green. It shows that he has film making skills and can come up with some cool gore and funny lines. I am interested in his follow-up Frozen which comes out on Blu-ray in a few weeks and trailer is included on this Blu-ray.
Unrated - extreme violence and gore, sexual content, nudity and language
AUDIO/VIDEO - By The Numbers:
REFERENCE = 92-100 / EXCELLENT = 83-91 / GOOD = 74-82 / AVERAGE = 65-73 / BELOW AVERAGE = under 65
**My audio/video ratings are based upon a comparative made against other high definition media/blu-ray disc.**
(Each rating is worth 4 points with a max of 5 per category)
- Low frequency extension:
- Surround Sound presentation:
- Dialogue Reproduction:
- Black level/Shadow detail:
- Color reproduction:
Hatchet slashes its way to Blu-ray Disc from Anchor Bay Entertainment featuring 1080p AVC encoded video that has an average bitrate of 28 Mbps and Dolby TrueHD 5.1 sound that has an average bitrate of 3.5 Mbps.
Hatchet is another top-notch effort from Anchor Bay Entertainment. Both the Audio and the Video are rich, detailed and fun as hell. Before we get the meat of the film the details and colors pop in the daylight, having an impressive bit of depth. Where this encode shines is with its impressive black levels and shadow details. Most of Hatchet takes place at night, on the swamp and surrounding woods. There were a few moments where it was too dark to make out what was happening, which I believe was the cinematography not the transfer. There is a nice level of grain resolved but never too visible from normal viewing distance. I did notice a few moments where the grain was exaggerated, almost looking like some digital video noise. An example is at the 40 minute mark. Look at the little boy's pig mask and on daddy Crowley's face in the cabin burning scene. I noticed this a few times but this was rare and the only issue I noticed.
The Dolby True HD audio track sure was dynamic. The sound sold a few of the jump-out-of-your-seat moments, startling me more than what was on screen. The Low end dug deep and was refined. The sound of thunder shook my room as the rain storm filled the sound-stage. Surrounds were utilized as any horror film should, filling the room with the prerequisite spooky sounds and breaking branches. This aggressive sound design never lost its focus on what matters the most, dialogue and the front speakers. Aggressive, big and entertaining, Hatchet's audio track was as much a part of this Blu-ray experience as the movie itself.
- All New Audio Commentary with Writer/Director Adam Green and Actor Kane Hodder
- Audio Commentary with Writer/Director Adam Green, co-producer/cinematographer Will Barratt and actors Tamara Feldman, Joel David Moore and Deon Richmond
- (HD)Gag Reel
- (HD)The Making of Hatchet
- (HD)Meeting Victor Crowley: An in-depth look at the creation of a new horror icon
- (HD)Guts & Gore: Go behind the scenes of Hatchet's special makeup and prosthetic effects
- (HD)Anatomy of a Kill: Witness the "jaw-breaking" birth, design and execution of a death scene
- (HD)A Twisted Tale: Writer/Director Adam Green recounts his decades-long friendship with "Twisted Sister" front man Dee Snider
- (HD)Previews: Frozen, After.Life, Pandorum
- (HD)Theatrical Trailer
'Hatchet' is a horror throwback to hay-day of the slasher flick. Totally taking from the likes of Friday the 13th, 'Hatchet' never captures the magic some of the best 80's slashers did. It does better as a comedy than a horror flick. Ill say it has some bloody disgusting kills that sum up what 'Hatchet' is. It's fun. I recommend checking it out when you are in the mood for a silly and bloody horror flick. Just don't expect a scary and serious fright-fest. Anchor Bay Entertainment does another bang up job on a catalog horror title, with some above average special features (Check out the Twisted Tale). A recommended purchase for fans, a fun rental for all else. I am looking forward to checking out Hatchet II, it is coming out in, of course, October.
AVS Forum Blu-ray Reviews
Reference Review System:
JVC DLA-RS35 1080p High Definition Front Projector (Calibrated by Jeff Meier)
Custom 1.3 Gain 128" 2.37:1 CinemaScope Screen
Pioneer SC27 Receiver (Calibrated by Jeff Meier)
Pioneer Elite BDP-23FD Blu-ray Player (HDMI Audio/Video)
Triangle Zerius Speakers (7.1)
SVS PC13-Ultra Subwoofer