Main cast: Parry Shen (Andrew Yong), Laura Ortiz (Rose), Dave Sheridan (Dillon), Krystal Joy Brown (Sabrina), Felissa Rose (Kathleen), Brian Quinn (Austin), Tiffany Shepis (Casey), Chase Williamson (Alex), Katie Booth (Chloe), Kelly Vrooman (Sue), Jonah Ray (Del), and Kane Hodder (Victor Crowley)
Director: Adam Green
Firstly, let it be known that the existence of this movie is a spoiler as to the identities of those who survived the previous movie. You know what to do, if you don’t want to be spoiled.
Set ten years after Hatchet III, Victor Crowley brings back one of the two survivors, Andrew Yong, back to Honey Island Swamp along with a new cast of meat for another round of butchery. Incidentally, this must be a new first: an adorable Chinese-American dude in the lead role of a horror flick.
Anyway, in the ten years since the last movie, Andrew had written a book, I, Survivor, which chronicled his encounter with the infamous killer Victor Crowley. This was after he had to first go through a painful legal circus to exonerate himself, since Victor’s body was never found, and hence he was the prime suspect of those murders. Indeed, past victims of Victor Crowley as well as a considerable number of people still consider him a murderer to this day, and therefore, he can be quite the polarizing figure.
Now that it is the tenth anniversary of the slaughter that Andrew survived, his publicist Kathleen (and yes, that’s the same lady who played Angela in Sleepaway Camp when she was twelve or thirteen) put him through a series of book signings as well as a guest spot on his ex-wife Sabrina’s talk show. He ends up at the receiving end of Sabrina’s passive-aggressive insults, and his book signings are… colorful, to say the least, so it is almost a relief when Kathleen reveals that he’s been offered a million dollars for a documentary of his experiences. The only catch is that he has to go back to Honey Island Swamp, but Kathleen assures him that he only needs to fly over the place while they interview him and film him looking all pensive and sad.
It is only when he is on the plane does he realize that Kathleen omitted that Sabrina will be the one interviewing him for the documentary. But that’s nothing compared to the plane crashing down onto the swamp.
Meanwhile, Chloe is an aspiring film maker who is fascinated by Andrew and Victor Crowley, and her dream is to create a movie that recreates Victor Crowley’s massacres. She drags her boyfriend Alex and her best friend Rose with her as she tries to meet and persuade Andrew to play himself in a trailer she is putting together for the movie she is planning to make. When that doesn’t pan out, she brings her team to Honey Island Swamp to do the trailer anyway. Accompanying them is the tour guide Dillon who agrees to escort them around the place (now a tourist attraction) in exchange for a spot on the trailer (he’s an aspiring actor, you see).
In order to figure out how to correctly pronounce the Voodoo curse that first brought the killer back from the death, Rose starts checking out some YouTube videos of people speaking aloud that curse. And then the plane crashes, and in the confusion, Rose drops her phone as she follows Dillon to locate the plane and see if they can help. Oops, the auto-play function eventually has the now-dead Reverend Zombie correctly uttering the Voodoo curse, and guess who is now back from the dead.
I have to warn you guys, though: this is easily the least gory entry into the Hatchet series, although that’s mostly because Victor Crowley only comes back around the midpoint of the movie. In the meantime, the focus is on comedy, starting from the most gross-hilarious opening scene to the fact that every character here seems to be created just to give sarcastic one-liners regardless of whether or not the situation warrants sarcasm. Indeed, another reason why this movie is not very scary, despite all the disembowelment and limb-ripping in the second half, is because the main characters rarely behave in a genuinely terrified manner in such situations. The most memorable death scene is Kathleen’s, which is so over the top funny as well as gross, but that’s about it, sadly. Casey’s death is also memorable, but that’s because it is an unexpectedly heartbreaking one to watch, rather than it being gross-out funny or vulgar. Everything else is standard stuff seen many times already in this Hatchet franchise.
If you think of this as a comedy first, horror second, then Victor Crowley works pretty well. Parry Shen brings a pretty good A game here, while Laura Ortiz is all about one sarcastic barb after another. Dave Sheridan also puts on a good show as a smarmy fellow who nonetheless has his moments of heroism. The rest of the cast is all solid, although these people spend more time being funny than terrified. Oh, and as usual, the human body is made of paper or something here – Victor Crowley rips everything off, out, and away with hilarious ease. Even the plane is hilariously delicate – everything just falls apart as if this low-budget movie has to resort to backdrops and set pieces made of paper and plastic, and oops, one tear causes everything to falls apart as well. Wait, maybe that’s exactly what happens. Oh well.
Because of the reduced amount of gore compared to previous entries, this one may disappoint fans hoping for an escalation of body count. Still, it is very funny at many instances, and there are plenty of nudge-wink callbacks to the previous entries as well as to other horror cult favorites. I wouldn’t say that this is an awesome splatter flick, but it’s a pretty entertaining way to kill about one and a half hour.