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Hatchet III (Blu-ray Review)

Seriously, how many people out there can rattle off many good third entries in a feature film franchise or at least halfway decent attempts?  Any takers?  They say that by the third time around a movie franchise usually wears out its welcome.  Third time’s not always the charm when it comes to films.  A strong concept is harder to conjecture and any fresh breath of air you once had you now must rejuvenate and excite the crowd all over again for or else you risk quickly boring the bejesus out of your viewers.  However, lessoned learned, you must not stray too far from that original formula or suffer the curse of The Hangover Part III you will.  How about playing it safe?  Does that ever work?  Very rarely it does in my opinion.  But what about if you give the people what they want?  You know they aren’t coming for mind blowing plots or Oscar worthy performances so why even try to venture down that road?  If you know what people will desire and exactly who will be showing up, then just give it to them.  That’s what I always say and it’s a pretty easy concept to grasp, huh?  Well thankfully, that’s exactly what Adam Green has done in what I believe to be the third and possibly final installment in the Hatchet franchise.  Ladies and gentlemen, I present to you Victor Crowley and Hatchet III…now on Blu-ray!

Film 

The only thing slightly different this time out is that the movie is directed by former Hatchet and Hatchet II cameraman BJ McDonnell, but was still written by Mr. Adam Green.  This time around, however, Mr. Green steps in as an Executive Producer.  Between Holliston and this, the man’s making a name for himself.  I love his drive!  Sweetheart Danielle Harris returns in the role of Marybeth Dunston that she made famous in the last outing and horror icon Kane Hodder also returns as the man who will never go down, Victor Crowley.  New to the franchise, please welcome fresh faces such as Zach Galligan (Billy from Gremlins) and Caroline Williams.  They’re here to shake things up a little bit in the Hatchet world.

The film picks up right where we left off in the swamps of Louisiana as Marybeth has just given Victor Crowley one hell of an a$$ beating and bludgeoning.  Oh no!  News flash!  You can’t kill Victor Crowley!  He will come back!  Thinking she has finally defeated the sociopath, she returns to town only to be imprisoned and blamed for the deaths of all her unlucky companions from the second film.  If you’ve seen the first two entries, although not necessary at all, things will make a lot more sense as you venture throughout the third one here.

Determined to prove that Marybeth killed and left all the unlucky carcasses behind from the second movie, Sheriff Fowler (Galligan) takes to the swamps with a bunch of mercenaries to investigate and ultimately track down the killer while his ex-wife, Amanda (Williams), a so called expert on Crowley, takes to the streets with an agenda of her own.  You see it’s the ex-wife who believes she knows the secret on how to stop Victor Crowley from coming back to life once and for all.  Will or does it work?  Well, that’s for you to find out and for me to leave the carrot dangling.

In addition to the cast mentioned above, the cast is also rounded out with Green’s wife, Rileah Vanderbilt, Cody Blue Snider and former Jason Voorhees himself (from the 2009 film), Derek Mears.  If you’ve ever seen any of the Hatchet films, then the first thing that should pop into the back of you medulla oblongata are the ridiculous death scenes.  Don’t fret!  They’re all back again in larger quantities than ever.  And the beltless sander is back too.  Yahoo!

Now like I said above.  Don’t expect anything new or fresh here.  It’s the same bad acting and same lunacy found in the previous two installments, but it’s the nonsensical bloody kills we are here for, not the performances, right?  Right!  If you go in with that mindset, Hatchet III won’t disappoint.  I personally guarantee it.  After all, it can’t be as bad as It’s A Good Day To Die Hard, can it?  You’ll get your fair share of bloodshed, bad acting and so much more.  The only thing that disappoints is the lack of Danielle Harris throughout.  Don’t get me wrong, she’s still the main protagonist, but she’s dialed back here compared to her starring role in the second flick.  Not only does that girl have a set of lungs on her, but she can really act too.  She’s a sweetheart in real life as well and it’s a “bloody” shame she wasn’t utilized more.  And sadly, despite Billy bing the film, there’s no Gizmo either.  The filmmakers do what they can do with this muddy franchise.  There’s only so many places they can take it and as cheesy as it is, I’m actually okay with how they ended things.  So how about those A/V Blu-ray disc vitals?  I’m glad you asked.  Let’s get cracking!

Video 

MPI Media Group and Dark Sky Films brings Hatchet III to the Blu-ray format with quite a remarkable AVC MPEG-4 video encode framed in a 2.35:1 widescreen aspect ratio.  Despite the grotesque blood and gore abound here, things look quite spectacular, believe it or not.  The picture is washed in a thin veneer veil of cinematic grain with razor sharp moments abound.  Filmed mostly at night the colors may be a bit muted at times, but believe you me…there’s no sacrifice in sharpness and clarity here.  Things are visceral, bloody, dirty and once again I’ll use the term “razor sharp”…being why it’s probably so bloody…I know bad joke.  LOL.  Or I could have said…why so bloody?  Okay.  Enough.  I’ll give up on all attempts at bad humor and save it for Adam to write into the plot of Holliston Season 3.  Skin tones all look natural.  Black levels are deep despite the brightly lit swamp sets, but nothing that’s problematic like the things that haunt and plague The Descent Blu-ray release that now seems so long ago.  Pores and excrements are in your face as the video is so perfect at times it makes it even more obvious when Crowley rips a fake head off and throws it at an unwilling subject.  But hey…that’s what you get with this franchise.  It’s not going for the Avatar audience…this is old school horror yo.  Suck it!

Audio

MPI Media Group and Dark Sky Films brings Hatchet III to the Blu-ray format with a formidable DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 surround that’s quite robust and loud at times.  The dialogue is always loud and clear…even when Crowley speaks.  Yes.  You heard me right.   I said even when Crowley speaks.   Sound effects are all rendered with remarkable and pristine authenticity…gun shots, blood squirts all around your soundscape, screams, shrills, body parts exploding behind you, helicopter blades spinning…you get the idea.  A monstrous rousing old school horror score engulfs you…and bloody hell…even sweetheart Danielle’s heartbeat pounds in your subwoofer begging the question…Hatchet IV anyone?  I’m down for another round in the swamps.  Heck.  Why not Hatchet IV: Lost in Space?   English SDH and Spanish subtitles are also available and selectable via the disc’s main main.

Extras 

So wow!  That was fast!  We are all the ready down here in the Special Features department now.  So let’s keep the quick pace yo.  There’s not one, but two commentaries to be found here, a crew and a cast one, and three featurettes that are not only in HD, but also in surround sound.  How visceral and cool is that?  Hush!  Don’t say another word.  I know you’re impressed.  So what do you say we take a closer look around the swamp here in the exclusive special features package you’ll find on the Hatchet III Blu-ray disc.

  • Unrated Cut  (HD, 81 mins.) – Here you will find a version that’s slightly different than the Rated-R theatrical cut.  Who’s complaining about that?  Anyone? [insert the sound of crickets]  I did not think so.
  • Crew Commentary – Now there’s a new term.  Crew commentary?  Oh well.  I like it.  Let’s roll with it.  This “crew commentary” includes Writer-Producer Adam Green, Director BJ McDonnell, Cinematographer Will Barratt and Make-Up Effects Artist Robert Pendergraft.  Talk about a smorgasbord!  How could this not be interesting?  I’ll listen to anything Mr. Green has to say so you know I’m eating this up.
  • Cast Commentary – Where there’s a crew commentary there has to be a cast commentary, right?  LOL.  Adam Green, BJ McDonnell ad Actor Kane Hodder make up this cast commentary.  I wish Daniel was part of this, but we can’t have everything we want in life, right?  Dammit!  I wish I could!
  • Hatchet III: Behind the Scenes (HD, 9:06) – Adam Green officially patches the torch to BJ as introduces the cast and crew to their next three weeks on set.  Kind of bitter sweet not seeing Green behind the chair, but BJ did a fine job, don’t you think?  Adam does don a very cool Megadeth shirt as he jokes that he’s been demoted to blood sprayer and they show the behind the scenes of that too.  LOL.  Lots of fight sequences and decapitations are in store for you in this gem of a featurette.  Impressive!  They even use real fire to blow up Crowley’s house.  We even see what happens to prop blood and guts after a storm.  You cannot not watch this one.
  • Raising Kane (HD, 4:57) – We get treated to seeing Kane Hodder get his Victor Crowley armor on.  How cool!  We see the many different faces of  Victor and even his hair.  It’s short, sweet and a must-see for any Crowley fan.  The makeup artist call his suit a wet deal seal because it’s heavy.  There’s nothing like seeing Kane with glasses on in the bowels of the Crowley mask.
  • Swamp Fun (HD, 8:53) – This one begins with the beautiful Danielle Harris having fun on set and pretty much leads the way for the rest of the mayhem found within this behind-the-scenes featurette.  We even get best remedies to combat the mosquitoes.  Adam Green also gets the chance to grill Zach on all his Gremlins curiosity.  If you’re a fan of Holliston, then you know Green’s a huge fan.  Zach has fun with all of this too.  What a lovable fellow.  Victor Crowley versus the Swamp Thing?  Say what?!  And what did Adam say about the Predator scene?  I guess you’ll need to watch to find out.
  • Trailer (HD, 1:56) – This is the film’s theatrical trailer.  No further explanation necessary, right?
  • Teaser (HD, :51) – And this one is obviously the film’s…drum roll please…teaser trailer!

Final 

So if you’re cool with everything I said above and you already know what to expect from this anyway, what the hell?!  Why even the slightest of hesitation?  You should definitely be checking this one out!  However, it should come as no surprise that Hatchet III is recommended for fans only (you know who you are) or old school horror gore hounds (you definitely know who you are).  Both a Rated and Unrated Cut of Hatchet III will be available at retail outlets everywhere on Blu-ray and DVD August 13th.  But you shouldn’t take any chances.  You should pre-order it now here or click the link below.  Come on.  You know you want to.  Do it!

 Hatchet 3

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Owner/Writer/Reviewer/Editor, Dreamer, Producer, Agent of Love, Film Lover, Writer of Screenplays and a Devoted Apostle to all things Ford Mustangs (the real ones with V8's!). Some of my favorite films include FIGHT CLUB, MOULIN ROUGE, THE DARK KNIGHT, STAR WARS alongside television shows such as SEINFELD, 24, SANFORD & SON and even the often loathed in the geek community BIG BANG THEORY. Outside of my three lives I live I also enjoy spending time with my girlfriend and our three girls (of the furry kind).

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