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HATCHET III (2013)
Directed by BJ McDonnell
Written by Adam Green
Starring Danielle Harris, Zach Galligan, Caroline Williams, Parry Shen, Robert Diago DoQui, Derek Mears, Sid Haig, Cody Blue Snider, Rileah Vanderbilt, Sean Whalen, Jason Trost, Diane Ayala Goldner, John Michael Sudol, & Kane Hodder as Victor Crowley
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And that continuation does occur, just as the last film ended and began with a scene that simply proceeds directly after the last shot of the previous film, thus interconnecting all three HATCHET films together in one long thread. Having rewatched this trio of films in order in one sitting, it does make for a damn fun extended movie experience. The action is hard and rough in these first moments as homages to both TEXAS CHAINSAW and HALLOWEEN are done. The action scene between the returning Harris as Marybeth is ruthless and really highlights the stars resilience and toughness as she literally bisects Crowley with a chainsaw before we move onto this third and reportedly final chapter in the HATCHET Trilogy.
Crowley has taken on tourists and bounty hunters in the last few films, so taking on lawmen in this one as Marybeth shows up at the police station holding a chunk of Crowley’s scalp to prove that he is out there. A federal team lead by Derek Mears (Jason from the FRIDAY THE 13TH remake) as well as a rescue squad (lead by GREMLINS Zach Galligan and Parry Shen who has been in all three HATCHET films as different characters) is dispatched into the swamp while Marybeth stays locked up happily in a prison cell. TEXAS CHAINSAW MASSACRE 2 final girl Caroline Williams plays basically the same role Courtney Cox plays in the SCREAM films, the nosey reporter who won’t take no for an answer when it comes to these murders. Williams even go so far as to kidnap Harris’ Marybeth from her cell and forces her back into the swamp for a third time. At least this return to the swamp is a little more believable since in the first one she returned of her own choice, while this time around she is forced at gunpoint. At least the excuse to get Danielle back in the swamp and covered in mud is understandable this time around.
HATCHET I and II DP BJ McDonnell slips into the director chair in this film as Adam Green takes the producer reigns, but still writes the screenplay. This transition of responsibilities really isn’t too noticeable as by now, this series knows what it wants to deliver and for the most part does so well in this series. There is some rough looking wire work here involving some acts of strength as Crowley dispatches the agents and lawmen with brute force in the final scenes, but the same template from the first two is followed as Crowley just kills everything in his path, though can’t seem to kill the four foot final girl once again. Sticking with not only tradition of this series, but of the slasher template itself, the story has definitely become predictable at this point and while the ending of how Crowley is supposed to meet his final demise is different, the rest of the motions are going to be very familiar.
But what makes these films aren’t the complex narratives, it’s the little fun moments. Crowley being chainsawed in half by his own chainsaw in the opening. The reintroduction of Parry Shen as a totally different character and then his defensiveness when he is called for looking a lot like the two other guys from the previous films (“Oh yeah, all us Asians look alike, now, right?” is the line, I believe). The meta-face off between former Jason Voorhees Kane Hodder and the latest Jason Derek Mears adds a level of cool only fans of the genres will appreciate, but still makes for an exciting scene. And Cody Blue Snider doing his best Hudson from ALIENS imitation as the scared out of his gourd lawman who just wants to get the hell out of the swamp. All of these ooze the same type of fun that runs hand in hand with this entire love letter to the slasher genre.
Again, there are those who don’t understand what all the hubbub is all about with these Hatchet Army kids and their confounded haircuts and baggy pants, but if you’re an old school horror buff like myself, I see it. I understand going nuts for these HATCHET films just as I went gonzo every time a new FRIDAY THE 13TH came out. And if you’re a fan of the slasher genre, you’ve got to appreciate the dedication and admiration Adam Green has for these films. It is noticeable in every frame of this trilogy and appreciated by this horror buff.