Last August, an L.A. theater full of fans thought they were going to watch Adam Green’s Hatchet as part of the film’s 10th anniversary. In an unprecedented bit of film secrecy, Adam Green shocked and elated the fans during his intro speech when he told them that instead of watching the original Hatchet, as they’d thought, they were actually going to be seeing a brand new film—the fourth installment in the Hatchet franchise, simply titled Victor Crowley.
Green proceeded to hit the road on an epic, multi-city tour, showing the new film and ending each evening to a standing ovation from the crowds.
For those of us who weren’t lucky enough to live near a city where Green was premiering the new film, we had to wait until Victor Crowley was available for rent or purchase to see it.
Well, as of last Tuesday, the wait was over.
As a diehard member of the Hatchet Army, I couldn’t buy it fast enough. So with that, here are my spoiler-free and hopefully unbiased thoughts on the film.
Adam Green made the original Hatchet film as a love letter to the fans of the classic 80s slashers we grew up on. Three films later and Green’s little franchise has a pretty good cult following of its own. As I sat down to watch Victor Crowley and the arieScope Pictures logo appeared on screen, the distant cry of “Daaadddy” filled my surround speakers. I knew then that Adam Green had given Hatchet fans another gift.
The quick plot synopsis is that Victor Crowley has been resurrected again, 10 years after the events of the first three movies. Then, per the tried and true Hatchet formula, a group of helpless strangers ends up in Honey Island Swamp and Crowley does what he does best—paints the screen red!
What made the first three films work so well is the casting, and Victor Crowley is no exception. Franchise favorite Parry Shen is back, and I challenge you to watch any of the Hatchet films, including Victor Crowley, without wanting to hug Parry Shen until he turns purple. He’s the little Asian guy we all need in our lives. You also get a roster of iconic horror actors in the cast, including Sleepaway Camp’s Felissa Rose, Tiffany Shepis, Tyler Mane, Dave Sheridan, Brian Quinn, and the incomparable and adorable Laura Ortiz, whose humor is about as dry as a martini.
The film’s biggest icon is Kane Hodder, who is donning the Crowley makeup for the fourth time. Kane gives us all the intensity we’ve come to love him for.
The gore is over-the-top because, let’s face it, it wouldn’t be a Hatchet film any other way! This type of horror isn’t for everyone, but if you’re the kind of person that ends up sitting alone at lunch in your company’s public break room because you find dismemberment funny, then Victor Crowley and the rest of the Hatchet franchise is for you.
While all of the Hatchet films have a degree of dark comedy incorporated, Victor Crowley seems to have really kicked the humor up. Much of this humor can be directly traced to Ortiz’s potty-mouthed one-liners, Felissa Rose’s pill-popping portrayal of the grating New York talent agent and Parry Shen’s “nice guys finish last” string of bad luck. At the root of all this comedy and gore, though, is the writing of Adam Green, which I believe is some of the best in the game and tragically underrated.
So, is Victor Crowley the kind of horror flick that will result in lost sleep and scare you for days after you watch it?
No, it’s not.
But that’s not the point, damn it! Victor Crowley is a shit ton of fun, and that is the point! It’s funny, it’s bloody, it’s ridiculously violent and we love it because we find dismemberments humorous, remember?
In short, you should watch Victor Crowley, you should enjoy it, and you should write Adam Green a letter of thanks when you’re done. Because he did this for us—the fans.
(P.S. Thanks, Adam…)