Adam Green, who would go on to produce Paul Solet's Grace, packs a lot of horror goodness into eighty-four minutes, but ultimately fails in execution. This is another offering in the comedic slasher that offers over-the-top gore and (sometimes) clever comedy, mixed up, and sprinkled atop a generic easy-bake plot. Not that this genre can't be done right. Check out Severance for a good example of the comedic slasher. The challenge for this genre is to keep it interesting.
Like Severance, Hatchet has several instances of my favorite comedic device: visually playing out something referenced earlier. I cracked up when a character drank yellowish liquid from a plastic container and burped just after the boat tour guide nonchalantly mentioned that the guy drank his own urine. Another great moment was when the brunette scratched herself right in from of Marcus (Deon Richmond), after having much earlier stated that he got crabs from some other girl. And little moments like the difference in tour admission price for Ben (Joel Moore) and Marybeth (Tamara Feldman) gave the movie substance. This brand of humor just works for me.
Hatchet boasts cameos by Robert Englund (A Nightmare on Elm Street) and Tony Todd (Candyman), which reminds me that Tony Todd also had a cameo in Penance--forgot to mention that in my review. Hatchet also packs in everything listed on what Paul Solet refers to as the "checklist." Which is interesting since, as I said earlier, Adam Green produced Solet's decent feature-length adaptation of the short film Grace. You can listen to Bo's and Maven's (The Last Blog on the Left) interview with Solet here. Based on Solet's comical explanation of the sordid horror movie-making checklist, Green used a copy for Hatchet.
Unfortunately, the good times falter under the weight of a lame movie. It's as if writer/director Adam Green couldn't exactly decide how to fill in the gaps between the impressive gore and the laughs. For a scant eighty-four minutes, I found myself bored most of the time. And yes, I understand this was a low-budget indie film. In fact, I mostly appreciate these more than big-budget horror (especially American). Give me real effects and make-up over CGI any day! However, I could only find three out of five stars in Hatchet. With so many horror movies floating around out there, this one settles in among them and disappears.