31 Days of Horror: Film 15: Hatchet III (2013)

It’s time for the 31 Days of Horror: 2014 Edition. For those of you who weren’t around for last year’s journey, the plan is to watch at least 31 horror movies I’ve never seen before and review them all. So sit back, strap in, and enjoy my journey down the rabbit hole.

For some reason, I have now watched all three films in the Hatchet series. Sometimes I hate my need to complete everything I start. For what it’s worth, Hatchet III is an improvement on the first two films. That’s not an endorsement.

Is there a point in doing a plot setup? No, I didn’t think so. I’ll just say that the film picks up right where the second film left off with final girl Marybeth (Danielle Harris) apparently killing the seemingly un-killable killing machine known as Victor Crowley (Kane Hodder). But of course Crowley isn’t really dead—there wouldn’t be a movie if he were. Soon enough, a whole new group of people is wandering into the swamp to be turned into red, mushy piles of gore by Crowley.

Hatchet III is the first film in the series to not be directed by Adam Green (although he does return as the screenwriter and gets a cameo for a forced meta inside joke). New director BJ McDonnell doesn’t stray from the formula of the first two films, but does thankfully cut back a little on the obnoxious attempts at humor that Green forced into his films. That’s not to say that there aren’t moments of aggressively bad comedy (unfortunately for Sid Haig, his cameo is for the worst scene in the movie—an attempt at racial humor that is more sad and offensive than funny), but the film is more focused on the convoluted back story of Crowley and tearing characters apart, limb by limb.

Speaking of tearing apart characters, despite the presence of genre stalwarts like Harris, Haig, Hodder, Zach Galligan, Caroline Williams, and Derek Mears, the real star of the film are the makeup and gore effects by Robert Pendergraft and his team of artists. No matter how disappointing the film that surrounds it, I’m always happy to see practical effects used over CGI and Hatchet III is, at the very least, a great showcase for the type of old school gore effects that made so many ’80s genre films such illicit fun.

Anyone who enjoyed the first two films should find plenty to like about Hatchet III. Everyone else can probably get by without worrying that they’re missing out.

Warning: This trailer is NSFW

You can contact me at obsessivemovienerd@gmail.com and read all the extraneous crap that goes through my head by following me on Twitter.

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