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VICTOR CROWLEY (2017)
aka HATCHET IV
Directed by Adam Green
Written by Adam Green
Starring Parry Shen, Kane Hodder, Laura Ortiz, Dave Sheridan, Krystal Joy Brown, Brian Quinn, Felissa Rose, Chase Williamson, Katie Booth, Tiffany Shepis, Jonah Ray, Kelly Vrooman, Tyler Mane, Tezz Yancey, Blake Woodruff, Whit Spurgeon, David Foy, Sarah Elbert, Kali Cook, Eileen Abarrca, Adam Green, Joe Lynch, Tony Todd, Dannielle Harris
Having watched and reviewed all of the HATCHET films (which I will post after this review), overall I have to say the series is a whole lot of fun and while Adam Green failed to come back for the third outing, it was nice to see him return to his baby monster in the swamp again. The result is last year’s surprise sequel to the HATCHET series, VICTOR CRAWLEY which does a pretty amazing job of continuing the mayhem as well as introducing the world to the mad murderer all over again.
Once again Parry Shen plays Andrew, the hapless final gir-I mean, boy and sole survivor of the last time Victor Crowley was laid to rest. Andrew is trying to make a buck off of his luck and is going on a book tour, telling the world about his ordeal in the swamp. Of course, being the sole survivor of a mythic swamp monster’s killing spree has its drawbacks. Many believe Andrew himself is the killer who left bodies decimated in the swamp ten years ago on a night that seemed to span three sequels (because it did). So the money is not being backed up via dump truck. Because of this Andrew reluctantly agrees to return to the swamp as a promo stunt for the new book. This coincidentally occurs when a trio of film students decide to make their own film about the incident and wouldn’t you know it, one of them has the very spell that is said to awaken the repeater spirit known as Victor Crowley. When a plane carrying Andrew, his publicist (played by SLEEPAWAY CAMP’s Felissa Rose) and a few other members of the promo team goes down near the filmmakers in the swamp, it’s no coincidence that Victor Crowley (played once again by Kane Hodder) arises once more.
Sure the resurrection is convoluted, but the importance is that Adam Green’s love letter to FRIDAY THE 13TH and other slasher films of the 80’s is back. While Green continues to develop himself as a filmmaker with films like DIGGING UP THE MARROW and his own HOLLISTON series, it’s great to see him comfortably slip back into the HATCHET universe for another go. While it is evident that this film might have half the budget of even the first HATCHET film, Green amazingly makes it all work by secluding the group in one single location (the hull of a crashed plane) for most of the film. While this might seem boring to some, Green takes advantage of the charismatic cast, the locale (the swamp that is seeping into the hull), and the hulking man monster who is just outside and itching to get in. Green comes up with one dangerous scenario after another as the survivors of the crash attempt to survive the night with limited weapons, no communications, and a swamp surrounding every possible exit. Reminiscent of another Green film FROZEN (not the cartoon), the filmmaker is able to make pretty much an entire film in this situation, but I didn’t notice it one bit because of the action, the gore, and the talented cast.
VICTOR CROWLEY continues in the tradition of having absolutely amazing gore throughout. Blood is tossed everywhere. Characters die horribly. And Kane Hodder has never looked better as the hulking monster. This film truly does follow in the footsteps of its previous entries and fits perfectly. There are bits and pieces tossed in mainly to catch up old viewers who might have forgotten the story or newcomers looking to whet their appetite for slasher mayhem. Whatever the case, Green delivers not only with gore, but some wonderfully shot scares that really impressed me at the way they played out. There is one scene in the doorway of the Crowley house that gets me every time.
On top of that, this film is hilarious from start to finish. I don’t think Green gets enough credit for his comic timing, but it’s on full display throughout VICTOR CROWLEY. Sure there are scenes of dire danger and gut-churning gore, but in between it all and sometimes during, there are some rock solid belly laughs to be had. Adam Green continues the HATCHET tradition honorably with this installment. Fans of the series are definitely going to have to have this one, but I think even if you don’t know about the lore from the previous entries, this one will entertain as well. With a cast of recognizable genre stars that once again get torn to shreds by Crowley (gotta mention Tiffany Shepis as once again she stands out as a true acting titan despite the fact that she has a smaller role here), VICTOR CROWLEY is the gory slasher film comeback we’ve all been waiting for.