There has been an unfortunate trend lately to call any new horror movie that plays like an 80s slasher movie an "homage." However, there is a big difference between an homage to 80s horror and a new original movie that maintains the same gleeful fun mainly seen in those movies from past decades. Hatchet II is not an "homage" to the fun slasher movies of the past. It simply is a fun slasher movie. There are no gimmicks on display to make it seem like a dated horror movie. Sure, the movie wears its love of older supernatural slasher movies on its sleeve, but it does so in a way that allows it to be its own thing. Hatchet II is a fantastic horror movie that does what every sequel should, prove its own existence while topping everything from the first movie.
I love the world Director Adam Green has set up in his movies. There are a good amount of returning characters from the first Hatchet and it truly feels like the continuation of the story that began with the original one in 2006. There are also some clever nods to other things Green has done like Frozen (pay attention to a certain news report) and my personal favorite, Jack Chop. Green's ability to combine the new school of horror with what is now considered an older school was one of my favorite things about this movie. It really comes across that Green loves this genre and Hatchet II is an awesome celebration of all things bloody and gory.
It would be easy to simply rattle off all the cool little cameos and references in Hatchet II (Joe Lynch! Behind the Mask! Newbury Comics!) but that was only part of the fun watching it. The real enjoyment I got out of Hatchet II were the glorious kills. The reason they are so amazing (and the reason I feel like Hatchet II is so important) is because it has been released to major theaters without an official rating. This is pretty much unheard of so I feel like it is every horror fan's duty to seek this movie out. I made a special trip to Boston and encourage others to follow suit. You won't be disappointed either because the stuff they were able to get away with instead of cutting it down for an R rating makes for one hell of a fun time.
Another strong point of Hatchet II is the lead, Danielle Harris. It's great seeing the little girl from Halloween 4 and 5 get a chance to really kick some ass and go full-on Ripley in a horror movie. Danielle is not playing the scared helpless girl in this movie. She gets her hands dirty (and bloody) and I had a blast watching her on screen. It's a great role and makes me look forward to what she does next. Speaking of which, any fans of her and Director Adam Green can actually get to meet them both if you go to Rock and Shock in Worcester on the weekend of Oct. 15-17 (I'll be there!).
Hatchet II is not my favorite horror movie of the year (I had a lot more fun with Piranha 3D) but it is still a movie that every single horror fan should see. Victor Crowley is the best horror monster created since Candyman and I would love to see this series continued even further. I have no problem saying that the Hatchet series will be required viewing years from now similar to how my generation devoured all of the Nightmare on Elm St. and Friday the 13th movies. There will always be critics saying these types of movies are what's wrong with America and that's fine because the reason we love horror movies like this is that they are like a great big in-joke. So while they sit in wonderment at how someone could enjoy seeing a person's head get ripped off from getting choked by their own intestines (Yea, that happens. It's as awesome as it sounds...), we can simply ignore them, sit back, and enjoy the gore that Hatchet II offers by the bucket-load. Just please don't call it an homage movie.