I’ve warmed up to “Hatchet III” a little bit since I originally saw it. Not a whole lot, but just a tiny bit. Mostly because while Adam Green is still better than what this premise entails, he is actually talented when he decides to be. Like Adam Sandler, he can deliver some true greatness, he just indulges his fan base that asks for more lowbrow entertainment that he makes his bread and butter off of. When most of his fans were mocking Green for directing the PG-13 “Spiral,” I don’t blame the man for sticking to the gore soaked “Hatchet” films to keep his (ugh) “Hatchet Army” by his side.
Green has delivered strong genre entertainment with the near masterpiece “Frozen,” the very good “Spiral,” and the often surreal horror sitcom “Holliston.” This time around Green merely produces, but his influence is still felt in this third and allegedly final installment (Yeah and “Friday the 13th: The Final Chapter” was really the final chapter). Picking up moments after “Hatchet II,” Danielle Harris is back yet again as the anti-heroine Marybeth who not only survived the vicious Victor Crowley once, but twice. If I were the screenwriter I would have completely broken up the monotony of this third film by revealing in the end that Marybeth is also a ghost. In “Hatchet II” she died, and now she’s a ghost who is forced to eternally do battle with Crowley. How cool would that twist have been?
But sadly, she’s just a shockingly lucky girl who is trying to urge police officers in New Orleans that Crowley is real. She is blamed for the massacre of her friends, but insists on showing the authorities that Crowley is wreaking havoc in the swamps. Olivia Williams from “Texas Chainsaw 2” is a local journalist who believes Marybeth, while Zach Galligan is the police chief assigned to keeping Marybeth safe. To make things worse, a SWAT team has dropped on the haunted swamp and is anxious to hunt down Crowley and bring him to justice. Derek Mears is fantastic as the testosterone addicted SWAT commander Hawes, a character built to pay homage to the thrill seeking character Gary Busey played in “Predator 2.”
Though Marybeth and a few SWAT members plead to leave the swamp, Hawes is convinced he can kill Crowley, and before long the body count rises faster than the audience can keep up with. “Hatchet III” has a lot in its favor, but is underwhelming, not only in characterization, but in special effects and kills. Considering Mears is the modern Jason Voorhees, and Kane Hodder (who plays Victor Crowley) is the classic Jason Voorhees, I’d have featured the pair battling wits and strength more. But director McDonnell just wants to get to the torn limbs and body parts, so it’s anti-climactic. “Hatchet III” is not as bad as I originally considered it, but it’s by no means sold me on this slasher movie series. Not by a long shot.
The Unrated Blu-Ray is loaded with extras for fans of the movie to lap up. There’s a Crew Commentary with Writer and Producer Adam Green, Director BJ McDonnell, Cinematographer Willa Barratta, and Make up Effects Artist Robert Pendergraft. There’s a Cast commentary with Adam Green, BJ McDonnell, and Kane Hodder, as well as a few Behind the Scenes featurettes including a segment about actor Kane Hodder, and the basics of filming in the swamp sets with the cast.