If you’re not into disembowelment for fun and profit, you may be saying, “‘Hatchet II?’ Really? Was there a first one?” There was, a 2006 slog through the swamps of amateur filmmaking that has somehow gathered a following. It is the tale of the ghost of the malformed Victor Crowley splattering folks all over a New Orleans fen. The most shocking thing about the sequel is that it’s a dramatic improvement.
Or nondramatic. The franchise has embraced its true nature: horror comedy. The film does as much winking at its core constituency as blinking blood out of its eyes. It’s loaded with in-jokes and boasts one genuinely funny performance, from Colton Dunn, whose ode to food is a showstopper.
“Hatchet II” doesn’t scare but amuses fans with increasingly ridiculous deaths. Whereas the first film concerns a tour boat that runs afoul of Crowley, this time the sole survivor ( Lacey Chabert ringer Danielle Harris) returns with a party of gun-toting yahoos, despite the expedition’s leader having just said bullets won’t kill the ghost. I wonder how that’ll go.
Rising genre figure Adam Green’s filmmaking is definitely refining, although the movie still looks to have been shot at the Museum of Natural History. It doesn’t make a lick of sense, and the real curse is its painfully repetitive dialogue, but who cares? You don’t go to this film for Sorkinesque repartee; you go for the world’s longest chainsaw, or equal-opportunity genital mutilations, or very, very long bludgeonings. And here they are, in buckets.
“Hatchet II.” MPAA rating: Unrated. Running time: 1 hour, 36 minutes. In selected theaters.