'Hatchet' Carves a Place in Horror Fans' Hearts

EntertainmentMoviesHalloweenChicago TribuneRobert EnglundAdam Sandler

"It is what it is and that is all it ever can be" would be a good way to describe "Hatchet." The film has its limitations and works well within them. Just to be clear, this is not a film intended for a wide audience. But B-movie fans who find their way to Adam Green's gory schlock extravaganza are going to like it.

The plot centers on friends Ben and Marcus (Joel Moore and Deon Richmond), who decide to join a haunted bayou cruise . Led by maverick guide Shawn (Parry Shen), whose twang stalls somewhere between Adam Sandler's "Water Boy" and "Little Nicky" accents, the doomed group of tourists sails into the darkness. The boat sinks in waters known to be haunted by Victor "Hatchet Face" Crowley (Kane Hodder), who aims at dismantling (quite literally) his guests piece by piece.

While "Hatchet" does not come equipped with a great plot, high production value or A-list cast, it never advertises itself as such. More of a throwback to the jocular "Swamp Thing" than a "Halloween" or "Nightmare on Elm Street," "Hatchet" is chock full of B-genre's mainstays: laughable violence, campy monster, predictable scenarios and gratuitous flashing. The best part of Green's film is its comic pacing . Once we are introduced to Hatchet Face and his ridiculous makeup-department rubbery facade, taking him seriously accelerates full-throttle into the impossible and the film abandons any semblance of fright. Witnessing the characters beat up on this undead freak helps pass the time between laughs, and Hatchet Face's high jinks make us wonder which side to root for .

Deon Washington shines as Marcus, displaying great comic timing . One of the only shortcomings of the film is Marcus' abbreviated ending. The rest of the cast fit their static roles to a T, and the film has cameos from a Who's Who of '80s scare icons, including Robert Englund and Tony Todd of Freddy Krueger and Candyman fame .

High expectations and any discerning taste should be thrown out the window for a film of "Hatchet's" budget. That accomplished, audiences will find a gem of an intentionally bad movie.

Get showtimes and movie details for "Hatchet."

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