|SYNOPSIS:MaryBeth searches for the true secret to ending the voodoo curse that has left Crowley's ghost terrorizing Honey Island Swamp for decades.
CAST:Danielle Harris, Cody Blue Snider, Zach Galligan, Kane Hodder, Rileah Vanderbilt, Derek Mears, Diane Goldner, Caroline Williams, Sean Whale
MY THOUGHTS:Should be THE END.
REVIEW::"Hatchet 3" is the third entry into the indie-slasher franchise, that began with "Hatchet" (2006). Since then, there's been "Hatchet 2". The first sequel, and now the sequel to that sequel..."Hatchet 3". Is the third time a charm? Well, not really. Mostly because the second time was more of a charm. So in this series' case, the third time is kind of retreading the same old formula, established by this series already. Which is a bunch of people getting torn to pieces in the Honey Island swamp by deformed "repeater"....Victor Crowley. In this latest chapter, Marybeth (Harris) escapes Crowley's grasp once again, after displaying some fancy chainsaw work.
From there, she makes it all the way to the local police station. Covered in blood, carrying a gun, and a piece of Crowley's scalp...she's quickly taken into custody by the authorities. She lays the story on them, but of course they don't believe one word of it. And they believe instead, SHE...committed the murders. Meanwhile, a clean up crew is dispatched to the aforementioned swamp to clean up the deceased left strewn about in the previous movie. Ala Victor Crowley. Crowley of course is still alive, so even though our "crew" manages to bag and tag the big lug, he quickly escapes his would-be confines, and picks up where he left off. New players, but...same old game. This, as Marybeth is propositioned by a local reporter (Williams), who has studied Victor Crowley.
And thinks she might know the key to shutting him down once and for all. Since the sheriff (Galligan) has already headed to the Swamp to aid in the cleanup, his deputy is left to get talked into a crazy scheme where Marybeth, himself, and the reporter chick obtain an important item. To bring to the swamp, and use to stop Crowley once - and - for all. "Hatchet 3", even though it's the third movie in the series, feels like a true "cap off" to things. And after seeing the movie, I truly hope that it is. The picture establishes itself as the weakest entry into the franchise for one reason. The fun element, is all gone. It's been used up. A lot of these characters seem to put it bluntly..."too old for this sh**." I'd call this film, "Hatchet Grown Up". Because everyone in this movie wants to be a "take charge adult".
When it comes to stopping Crowley, yet they make the same "horror movie adult mistakes". When it comes to confronting Victor. For example, none of these people seem to understand that Crowley is indeed..."out there". Even after seeing body parts, blood, and guts strolled all over the swamp. They seem to move through the swamp, as if they're on some sort of search and rescue mission. Up against Drug Lords or Human Criminals. Not an undead, hulking-ghost-zombie-serial-killer. And by the time they do actually..."get it". For example, figuring out that bullets won't stop Victor Crowley...he's already sunk one of his hands deep into their gullet so it's already too late.
The film does a good job of setting up Marybeth and her new reporter friend, as the only ones who truly know what they're up against. So you can already see early on how this movie will turn out. Many, many people will die. Leaving Marybeth and maybe a couple survivors to save the day. Or at least...die trying. Problem is, we've seen this formula before. In "Hatchet 2". An expedition of folks armed to the teeth, hitting Honey Island to take on Crowley. Only to be dispatched in violent, brutal ways. Only in part 2, it was just a lot more fun to watch since the characters were better developed. This time around, outside of Galligan's Sheriff character, and the returning Parry Shen, who adds comedy relief to the mix...again.
Most of these characters are swamp food. Popsicle sticks for Crowley to snap, crackle, crush, dismember, and pop - at will. Luckily, the film has Danielle Harris and Caroline Williams. Two veteran horror actresses - as its pair of female leads. So their banter between one another, and overall performance in the movie manages to carry it along modestly until the very end. The film isn't a total flame out, but the formula needed some tweaking beyond a retread of the massacre that occured in part 2. Add to that, the kills begin to mesh with one another as the film goes on. Crowley starts out with some original material early on. As he begins to dispatch of his would-be-dispatchers. But by act three, he's just pulling limbs off and ripping bodies apart. Stuff we've seen already many, many times before.
When the film finally does reach the moment where it's "do or die"...in stopping Victor Crowley's rampage once and for all. The expected suspense, and drama just isn't there. Matter of fact, it felt kind of botched. I think it's safe to say, this movie was also missing Reverend Zombie (Tony Todd)...very much as well. His "ambiguity"...as a character. Was sorely lacking and missing in "Hatchet 3". You never could tell whos side he was on. Yet his attitude was a perfect foil for a sort of quasi-antagonist to the films main antagonist, Victor Crowley.
"Hatchet 3" will hopefully finish the franchise for good. It certainly felt like 'the finale", or "the end" to the story, and the legend of Victor Crowley. Lets just hope the filmmakers keep it that way. Honestly, I don't see how a "Hatchet 4" occurs, without some MAJOR...revamping of just about everything this franchise has come to be known for.
THE GOOD:Harris and Williams give strong performances, and share the female lead spotlight nicely. Galligan starts off strong as the honory local sheriff. But kind of flames out by the end.
THE BAD:Things are actually made TOO easy for Victor this time around. None of these people prove to be a match for him. Physically, or mentally. Also Parry Shen returning as a whole new character? Should've made him the "second brother" to Justin or something. The kills lacked impact this time around also. Not as good as previous entries.
OVERALL:Two stars out of four.
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