Hatchet III (2013)

HATCHET III / Director BJ McDonnell

Featuring smoother cinematography than the previous Hatchet flick and it does what all good Part III’s should – blow shit up. Literally. This is the “firepower” instalment of the Hatchet franchise, the closest the series will get to Aliens or Predator as a bunch of special ops hard cases go in with big guns. With series mastermind Adam Green here handing the director’s chair over to B. J. McDonnell, there’s a worry this instalment could end up lacking a certain touch, but for the most part this is just as good as what came before.

The film somehow recovers from the seemingly impossible-to-retcon cliffhanger of Hatchet II – where Victor Crowley’s head was blown to smithereens with a shotgun blast at point blank range – and broadens the parameters of a Hatchet movie. There are multiple storyline strands here and not everything is confined to the town and swamp. The self-aware factor is taken up a notch with Perry Shen returning and playing his third character in as many films. The slasher cameos are more substantial too with Billy from Gremlins playing a local cop, Caroline “Stretch” Williams taking on a key role and a brief appearance from none other than the great Sid Haig. Series MVP’s Dannielle Harris and Kane Hodder return too, naturally.

I’ve watched/rewatched these movies in such quick succession recently that they are beginning to blur together which I would consider a good thing. They are all consistently exactly what they set out to be: gleeful slasher throwbacks that indulge in some wacky, splatty effects and bayou bloodletting. They’re driven by some knowing, silly humour that keeps everything light on its feet and you can tell everyone on screen would have just as much fun watching this film as they would acting in it. As a devout fan of the films they continue to riff on, I welcome each Hatchet instalment with open arms, ripe for severing.

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