The jump from film to digital makes the back-to-back viewing experience of Hatchet and Hatchet II a tad jarring – this one certainly looks shoddier than its predecessor – but otherwise this is a gleefully satisfying continuation. The first thing that jumps out is the replacing of Tamara Feldman from the previous film with Dannielle Harris as Marybeth, but her presence is more fitting in this universe which is almost exclusively populated by actors with some slasher heritage. Feldman was great in the role, but Harris’ baggage makes the recast feel like a necessary upgrade.
Elsewhere, AJ Bowen and Fright Night writer/director Tom Holland fill out the colourful cast of Crowley-fodder and returning franchise mastermind Adam Green certainly revels in being more brazen with the gore and humour while also retaining a terrific sense of continuity. The way he re-stages the title sequence from the first Hatchet, for instance, to update it with the remains of the carnage from that film is a simple but inventive flourish.
This one takes a bit longer to get going but once it begins, the body count is bigger and more riotous. The leviathan chainsaw gag is exactly the kind of thing only movies like this can get away with, but what fun. The best compliment I can give Hatchet II is that it feels like it was shot the day after shooting the first film wrapped. Shooting format aside, the two films do feel of a piece and are a lot of fun. But like the first movie, it never quite identifies itself as anything other than a loving tribute to classic examples of the slasher genre.