Hatchet (Blu-ray Review)

“Mr. Crowley (beat), what went down in your head?  Mr. Crowley (beat), did you talk to the dead?”  Um, so why do I have the sudden urge to belt the lyrics out to Ozzy Osbourne’s Blizzard of Oz masterpiece, “Mr. Crowley?”  Oh, wait a minute!  I know.  It may just have something to do with the fact that I just watched Adam Green’s 2006 “Holy Grail of Slasher Films,” Hatchet and his legendary “icon of horror,” Victor Crowley.  Move over Michael, Jason, Freddy and Thomas Brown Hewitt, there’s a new “monster in the house,” and his name is Victor Crowley. Remember that name!

So I thought I would try something a little different with this review.  Before I go about dissecting the film and spewing my opinions all over you, I thought I would be kind and share the film’s trailer with everyone who has maybe never seen or even heard of Adam Green’s Hatchet.  How’s that for being a nice guy?  So check out the embedded trailer below and when you are ready, scroll down to learn everything you ever wanted to or did not want to learn about the film.  See you in a minute and forty-eight, if you make it.


So what did you think?  Intrigued, huh?  Well read on.  Despite the film’s theatrical release in 2007, it wasn’t until this past July that I became of aware of the feature.  I know what you’re thinking.  How sad is that?  And I’m supposed to be this big horror fan and all.  I hang my head in shame.  Anyway, as I was saying, I initially became exposed to the world of Hatchet at Comic-Con 2010 this past summer (see the full recap here).  It was my chance to get up close and personal with the very beautiful Danielle Harris.  In addition to the endless shots of Danielle I took with my camera, I found someone else that I did not know I was looking for in my life.  That person is none other than Writer/Director Sir Adam Green.  And no, he is a not a knight.  But if you asked every aspiring filmmaker in that room Friday night, there was no one more motivational to look up to than inspirational career and charisma of Adam Green.  And best of all, unlike most of the tales of the people you meet in Hollywood; Adam was 100% approachable, kind and personable.  You cannot beat that.  So anyway…Hatchet…yeah…

“It’s not a remake.  It’s not a sequel.  And it’s not based on a Japanese one.”  Hatchet is an old school American horror film.  You really can’t get more grass roots than this one.  Set in the swamps of the Louisiana bayou, Hatchet is the story of the legend of Victor Crowley.  The term “legend” usually refers to something or someone that was around a long time ago.  However, a group of tourists discover that the legend of Victor Crowley is more real than they could have ever imagined.  The film stars Joel David Moore (Avatar), Tamara Feldman (Gossip Girl), Deon Richmond (Scream 3), Mercedes McNab (Angel), Tony Todd, Joshua Leonard, Robert Englund (Freddy himself) and Kane Hodder as Victor Crowley.

Hatchet is about as “slasher” as they come.  I would have to say, compared to the last three slasher entries: Friday the 13th (redux), A Nightmare on Elm Street (redux) and Rob Zombie’s Halloween II, Hatchet wins hands down, in my opinion.  A Nightmare on Elm Street (redux) and Halloween II fail in so many different ways that I won’t even bother to going into, but I would say Hatchet’s closest competition, because of the outdoor similarities and characteristics, is the redux of Friday the 13th.  However, Hatchet came first and try as they might, Friday the 13th can never beat the “arm stretching” scene Hatchet concludes with (not a spoiler, I’m just alluding to something…LOL).  And what’s that I hear?  You want carnage?  You want body count?  You want over-the-top death scenes?  Well, I’m pretty sure you will find what you are looking for here.  Read on.

Believe it or not, Hatchet was initially awarded an NC-17 by the MPAA for extreme violence and gore.  I’m here to tell you people…that is complete B.S.!  I don’t mean to undermine the film, but there’s no more gore in here than you are going to find in your typical Saw-like movies or slasher films of the past.  I can’t understand the MPAA’s reasoning here, but oh well, who am I to judge?  Anyway, for those of you that don’t know anything about the MPAA or movie ratings, I can assure you that as soon as you are awarded an NC-17 rating you can pretty much kiss your nationwide mainstream release goodbye.  In the case of Hatchet, this is so unfortunate.  However, after months of appeals and slight frame shavings, it finally received an R rating for strong bloody horror violence, sexual content, nudity and language.  But wait!  Do I have some good news for you!  This Blu-ray release is not the rated R cut that was released theatrically, but instead it is the Unrated Director’s Cut version of the film.  Every frame of every death scene is completely restored just as Adam Green envisioned it.  How blissful is that?

In the end, Hatchet ended up winning several awards including the Audience Choice Award for “Best Picture” in 3 different countries and placement in MTV’s “Top 10 Films of the Year” list.  That’s not too bad for a movie the MPAA originally tried to sabotage.  Not bad at all!  Better yet, the 2007 horror title went on to become the best selling DVD that Anchor Bay has ever had.  Bravo, Adam Green, bravo!

The hardest part of this review is giving a score to the film itself that’s not only fair to the feature, but the genre it represents as well.  It’s a judgment call to say the least because let’s face it; slasher films are not everyone’s proverbial cup of tea.  I graded the feature on both its entertainment and replay value (my two most important categories).  The movie is definitely not going to make you have to think really hard or have to pay close attention to put two-and-two together, but instead what you will have is a bloodcurdling good time complete with gore, carnage and old school American horror film violence/fun like we were all accustomed to growing up in the 80’s.  You all okay with that?  Good!  I thought so.

So we talked a lot about the film itself and I think I gave you enough reasons as to why you should at least check it out, but I’m sure you are all wondering how does the Blu-ray rate on the A/V scales, are you not?  Well, let’s find out.  Shall we?  After you…


Yes, you read that right.  I’m giving this one a score of a 4.5 for video.  I can’t believe it myself, but this video transfer has balls.  Never did I expect a low budget campy B-movie to ever look so good on the Blu-ray format.  I really do need to find out what kind of cameras Adam Green used here.  Curiosity has gotten the best of me.  Anchor Bay brings Victor Crowley to life on the Blu-ray format with an impressive 1080p AVC MPEG-4 video transfer and a widescreen presentation aspect ratio of 1.78:1.

Alright, so why the score of 4.5 you are probably all asking yourselves.  This is one you have to see it to believe it.  You know how grainy cinema footage can become on the Blu-ray format, particularly during night scenes?  Well, what if I told you that 95% of Hatchet takes place during the night.  Would you believe me?  Of course you would.  What reason would you have to doubt me?  Well, what if I then told you that all these night scenes look incredible on the Blu-ray format.  Would you still believe me?  I sure hope you wouldn’t.  Think back to a film I like to forget called AVP: Requiem.  Remember that one?  Remember how dark it is throughout?  Did you ever try to watch that one on Blu-ray?  It’s almost unwatchable.  You can hardly see what is going on.  Adam Green’s night scenes here are impeccable.  They are gorgeously lit with very minimal grain and detail is plentiful here.  I can’t tell you how shocked I was while watching the feature.  I said to my wife more than a few times, “I can’t believe how good this looks.”  She’s a woman, what is she supposed to say other than nod her head pretending like she cares?  That’s not to say this transfer is perfect in anyway or doesn’t have its share of imperfections here and there, but I just have to go on record saying I’m very impressed.  You could tell that the contrast was a little hot and bumped up at times, but I didn’t mind.  It made the night scenes that much more enjoyable.


Anchor Bay delivers yet again on this Blu-ray disc with a Dolby TrueHD 5.1 surround track.  Believe it or not, I actually had to turn my surround receiver down after the first five minutes.  This monster is loud!  Of course, that’s always a good thing when you are trying to immerse and nest yourself within a movie.  It wasn’t the most dynamite of tracks compared to reference discs like The Dark Knight or King Kong, but it got the job done.  Adam also did a splendid job of planning and mixing the appropriate music within the different scenes.  My favorite is the Marilyn Manson track that was blasted during the film’s initial onscreen credits.  It was so perfect that I almost cried.  What a perfect way to start a movie like this.  Excitedly, I screamed at my wife…”Adam put in a Manson song!”  As I stated before, the majority of the movie takes place in the darkness accompanied by a lot of rain falling all around.  The rear speakers were utilized effectively to capture the essence of the rainy atmosphere as well as the screams of Victor Crowley.  Dialogue was always very loud and clear.  Not once did I ever strain to hear what was said, even after I turned the volume down.  Since the movie is not a hardcore action flick like Avatar, I teetered back and forth between a score of 3.5 and 4, but ultimately decided upon a 4, as I was very pleased with what I heard.

Special Features  

For a movie that’s marketed as an old school American horror film, I’m surprised to find as many special features as I did on this Blu-ray release.  I was kind of expecting this to be bare bones, but there’s certainly a lot of stuff here that I’m sure every Hatchet fan will eat right up, including myself.  The special features contained here within are not going to keep you busy for a full day, but in the case of the Hatchet Blu-ray special features, quality over quantity dominates here.  Unfortunately, like most Blu-ray releases, not everything is in high-definition, but beggars can’t be choosers can they?  Of course they can!  As they are listed on the back of the Blu-ray cover, below are all the special features you will find on this Anchor Bay release.  Indulge yourself…

Oh, before we begin, here’s a screenshot of the disc’s main menu upon insertion (after 5 or so preview trailers) of it into your Blu-ray player of choice.

  • Audio Commentary with Writer/Director Adam Green and Actor Kane Hodder
  • Audio Commentary with Writer/Director Adam Green, Cinematographer Will Barratt and Actors Tamara Feldman, Joel David Moore and Deon Richmond
  • The Making of Hatchet (SD) – Here’s a pretty cool look at how the story of Hatchet was actually conceived by the 8-year old mind of Adam Green.  You want to know where they got the swamp footage?  Find out from Adam here.  There’s some pretty cool stuff to learn about in here, especially for aspiring filmmakers.
  • Meeting Victor Crowley (SD) – This is like a 9-minute continuation of the previous featurette with the major emphasis obviously on Victor Crowley.
  • Guts & Gore (SD) – This near 11-minute featurette is pretty much what you would expect it to be from its title.  Check this out and find out the cast’s favorite kills and more.  I’m sure you always wanted to find out how Hatchet’s infamous kill scenes originated, right?
  • Anatomy of a Kill (SD) – This 6-minute featurette examines my favorite kill of them all within the movie, the jaw-tearing scene.
  • A Twisted Tale (SD) – For 8 minutes, Adam Green intimately shares with us how his career was really formed during his eighth year on the planet and expresses his love for the legendary hair rockers, Twisted Sister.  Dee Snyder also recalls his early interactions with Adam Green and how he touched his life.  This is definitely a must-see!  I actually had to pause here for a second and reflect on all of this that I had just taken in.  Adam Green has just motivated me in ways I have not thought possible since reading the inspirational tale of Robert Rodriguez’s Rebel Without A Crew.  Thanks Adam!
  • Gag Reel (SD) – Here’s your everyday rough footage of gags, mess-ups and whatnots.
  • Trailer (SD) – The original theatrical trailer (1:48) is presented here.
  • Subtitles – After my last Blu-ray review, I’m going to start listing these.  The included subtitles here are English and Spanish.

Final Thoughts  

Here’s the part of the review where I’m supposed to persuade you whether or not you should run out and buy/pre-order this, rent it or skip it all together.  I’m not going to do this today.  Instead, I think I made my case for it in everything I mentioned above and there’s really no reason to reiterate all the reasons why you should not hesitate and click the link below to pre-order this diamond in the rough today.  Oh, I guess that was pretty opinionated after all, huh?  Well forget what I said in that second sentence above.  Simply put, this is a great slasher flick, but I’m well aware that not everyone is a fan of the genre.  So with that being said, there’s really no denying that it’s one hell of a Blu-ray release from Anchor Bay and there’s absolutely no argument, in my opinion, that this one belongs in EVERY horror fan’s collection. Oh and by the way, make sure you check out the sequel, Hatchet II, hopefully coming to an AMC theater near you this October (see here for all the gory details).  Until next time…


Hatchet arrives on Blu-ray Sept. 7th.  Pre-order yours today!



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).

7 Responses to “Hatchet (Blu-ray Review)”

  1. Sandy

    WOW! Between your review and the trailer, I can’t wait to see this movie. I usually see every horror movie that comes out (good or bad), and I never heard of Hatchet either. Thanks!

  2. Gerard Iribe

    I’ll probably rent this, too.

  3. Sean Ferguson

    This isn’t my kind of movie but I will recommend it to my wife (who does love horror films) based on your review.

  4. Aaron Neuwirth

    In my queue. October is my horror movie month, so it will be watched around that time.


    True story, it is an awesome slasher flick. I attended the Hatchet II panel at Comic Con this past July and was privileged to get a sneak peak at this killer slasher film. I hope I am not spoiling anything, but the preview showed seven-to-eight unimaginable ways to die and that is just the beginning. There are so many more slasher shots not yet known. You have to see it to believe it. I have to agree with Brian, there’s a new monster in the house. Adam Green created a masterpiece! He created a monster, and his name is Victor Crowley. You won’t be disappointed if you love blood, guts, gore, and suspense. Hats off to some of the most vivid death scenes since Faces of Death.

  6. Dawn Thompson

    Well Brian, very thorough and detailed review and I will definitely be checking out this flick for the Halloween season approaching rapidly. I LOVE the horror genre, though I prefer “scary” over “slasher”, but this sounds like a movie for the arsenal. Kudos to Adam Green for being a groovy dude with a dark side, always a plus!

  7. Gerard Iribe

    I just thought of something….

    Hatchet, Frozen, Hatchet II.

    Okay, I’m in!!!!!!