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Hatchet III Blu-ray Review

Hatchet 3 Blu-ray

The “Hatchet” franchise goes out with a whimper in the third installment.

As I’ve mentioned in the past, I thought the first “Hatchet” was a fantastic throwback to 80’s slashers and a great slasher film in its own right. Unfortunately, the creativity from the first flick was sadly missing from the sequel which turned out to be a bust. When Adam Green announced he was writing (but not directing) a third and final “Hatchet” film (so he says), I was intrigued, but skeptical. On one hand, I hoped that Adam Green had come up with a satisfying conclusion for fans, but on the other hand, I was worried it would just be a retread of the first two films. The good news? It’s better than “Hatchet II.” The bad news? It’s barely better than “Hatchet II.”

In “Hatchet III,” the film picks up where the sequel left off. Victor Crowley appears to be dead for good and it seems like Marybeth can finally put the whole nightmare to rest. She goes to the local authorities and tells them of the Crowley massacre, but is immediately considered suspicious by Sheriff Fowler. Wanting to investigate the crime scene further, the Sheriff (as well as other authorities) head out to the swamp to survey the gruesome aftermath. Meanwhile, Marybeth soon learns that Victor Crowley is not dead thanks to the convenient journalist/Crowley expert Amanda Fowler (ex-wife of Sheriff Fowler). Marybeth also discovers that Victor Crowley is cursed and that only she can kill Crowley. Can Crowley finally be eliminated once and for all or will Marybeth die trying?

Whereas most sequels have bigger budgets and better production values, “Hatchet” is the rare series where the films actually decline in quality. The cinematography looks cheaper, the casting is significantly worse (Danielle Harris is no Tamara Feldman), and even the makeup and gore turn out to be wildly inconsistent. Above all else though is the fact that the scripts for the sequels just don’t live up to the first film. Between “Hatchet” and “Frozen,” Adam Green was fast becoming a rising star in the horror world, but his last few efforts have left me cold. Sure, the third film does delve into the mythology of Victor Crowley more, but the whole film is more focused on gore and “been there done that” ideas more than anything else. It would have been nice to see a story in the Hatchetverse that took viewers outside the swamp. I’m not suggesting Crowley goes to space, but the swamp setting has become all but stale after three features set there.    

While the film may be lacking, I have to admit that the callbacks to the first film were far and away the highlights here. I won’t spoil what those callbacks are, but they do involve two different characters.

Note: This Blu-ray disc contains the uncut version of “Hatchet III.”

Video/Audio:

Not even the hi-def transfer can make this film look better. The film (which is presented in 2.35:1 1080p) simply has a real low budget, bland, direct to DVD visual style. It’s just not an exciting film from a visual standpoint.

Sadly, the 5.1 DTS-HD MA audio track doesn’t even sound like a hi-def track. When the violence and mayhem are occurring on screen, the track does come alive, but otherwise, it’s a little too flat.

Extras:
* “Hatchet 3” teaser and trailer.
* Dark Sky Films trailers.
* “Swamp Fun”- Behind-the-scenes footage of life on the bug infested set in the swamp. Expect lots of goofing around by the cast and crew.
* “Raising Kane”- Behind-the-scenes footage of actor Kane Hodder (mostly in makeup).
* “Hatchet 3: Behind The Scenes”- You guessed it, more set footage!
* Cast commentary by Adam Green, Parry Shen, Kane Hodder and BJ McDonnell. A lively commentary that is far more engaging than the movie.
* Crew commentary by Adam Green, BJ McDonnell, Will Barratt and Robert Pendergraft. Another fun commentary filled with factoids and set stories.

Summary: I think it’s wise for the “Hatchet” franchise to be put to bed for the time being. Of course, there’s always room for a fourth film down the line, but it’s clear with “Hatchet II” and “Hatchet III” that the series has run out of steam. Recommended for the Hatchet Army only.

August 12, 2013 - Posted by | Blu-Ray review | , , , , , ,

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