Unnecessary back story, toilet humor, and overlong gags involving gore, yes, this is a sequel to “Hatchet” alright! While “Hatchet” was a serviceable genre installment that consumed time with a smile and didn’t change the genre as many movie critics promised it would, “Hatchet II” is here regardless, and rather than simply follow the formula it purports to adhere to with a throwback to goofy slashers of the eighties, in actuality it spends more time setting up the story in the first twenty minutes than it does get down to the nitty gritty of the sub-genre. Green takes the time out to explain the origin of Victor Crowley yet again for audiences after setting the sequel immediately after the events of the first film where Marybeth escapes the clutches of Crowley and manages to get away with the help of an eccentric fisherman.
There’s no real mention of the other characters (beyond a cheesy cameo by comic relief Jenna and Misty) and replacing Tamara Feldman is Danielle Harris, an actress with a talent for dominating any horror fixture she’s in and acquires a rather hokey Southern accent in an effort to channel Feldman’s character. After sitting through another origin story just to learn that Marybeth’s dad was killed because he is one of the kids who burned Victor Crowley to death, Marybeth ventures out to find people to hunt down and kill Crowley and find her family’s bodies. Meanwhile Reverend Zombie is interested in acquiring his boat from the doomed cruise and is anxious to cover his tracks from Crowley. The ultimate caveat that keeps “Hatchet II” from being a remotely respectable sequel is that it feels rushed. After the need to top his debut, Green seemingly rushes through this sequel recycling much of the characters and plot lines from the first movie while speeding through the lure from the first film which was the vicious traditional gore.
Most of the death sequences are lacking in the outrageousness and dazzle from the first and it fails to really live up to any expectations with murdering sequences that feel very old hat and are never as eye catching as they could be. Where as the first film had Crowley ripping a woman’s face apart in front of our eyes, this time Crowley prefers to have more subtle kills like bashing someone’s face in in a poorly edited sequence, and a propeller death that is rather ho hum. And that’s only when Green is not staging off-screen kills. Green places an over reliance on the seasoned horror veterans giving them the majority of screen time and focus rather than zeroing in on character Marybeth whose journey should be the motivation for this story. Instead Green expands on Reverend Zombie’s character as well as his sidekick, and meanders in to various sub-plots that are ultimately proven irrelevant all the while Harris takes a backseat as the heroine until the final half hour.
What’s the point of casting someone like her if you’re not going to implement her to her full advantage? “Hatchet II” is an infuriating movie not only because it’s terrible, but because Green can and has done better. “Spiral” was a stellar thriller, and “Frozen” was a major highlight in survival horror, but with “Hatchet II” it’s obviously the sign of a man winging it to get some name recognition rather than try to deliver quality genre fare. When Green finally does regain focus on the point of the film it all boils down to its final minutes when the epic confrontation is met with yawns and eye rolls wasting talent like Harris to what is obviously just a hackneyed and speedily made sequel intended to cash in on the momentum of the first film. An obviously rushed and hasty production in an attempt to market on the clout of the first film, “Hatchet II” is a monotonous and often tedious mess of a sub-genre outing lacking in the dazzling special effects and appeal of the first film and failing to center the entire story on its star Danielle Harris. “Hatchet II” is yet another disappointment of 2010.