Considering that this was shot in secret a good four years after Hatchet III and unveiled in grandstanding fashion upon an unsuspecting Hatchet-loving crowd, you’d be forgiven for thinking that Victor Crowley would be something of an event for the franchise. Instead it’s just business as usual.
Chronologically, this is the first in the series to use a time-jump (the first three films practically happened over one 48 hour period) but it isn’t actually utilised for any meaningful narrative purpose. For any viewer watching these back-to-back in a Hatchet-mad binge – not far off how I’ve just experienced them – it’d be easy to assume this one was shot a year after the last movie. Now, I think I held this one under more scrutiny because of how it was made and unveiled; Adam Green returning to the director’s chair, the title change, the secretive production; it all points to an upping of the ante. And honestly, by this point, the series could do with a bit of a shake-up. Victor Crowley himself doesn’t show up until well into this film’s brief running time and one of the things the Hatchet movies never really indulged in was a great, meaty resurrection sequence. The nature of Crowley’s mythology means he can just keep coming back, but for this one I really thought Green should have pulled off all the stops and brought him back in a big, bad way. Sadly not.
Now four films in, I’m glad they finally decided to just make series MVP Perry Shen the lead. He’s the connective tissue that covertly keeps a lot of these films together, even more so than Dannielle Harris who, for all intents and purposes, is the franchise’s figurehead. With Shen taking up the reins though, I didn’t miss her as much as I thought (plus we know we haven’t seen the last of Marybeth). Green’s penchant for using ace genre faces continues to be his greatest currency, here letting mad-man Dave Sheridan tear up the scenery with a movie-stealing supporting role. I also like the central conceit of having a plane crash into the swamp making it something of a base for all the carnage, but the barebones design of the actual plane – basically a hollow shell painted white with holes cut in it for windows – shows the film’s budgetary restrictions. I do love that it stays true to the franchise’s heritage though as Green’s preference for overblown, bloody, abrupt endings is very much intact.
This is 100% a Hatchet movie, but my main problem with it is that it’s called Victor Crowley so I expected something different, something – dare I say it? – more. I also watched/re-watched these four films in a relatively short time span so it’s very likely I’m just suffering from Hatchet fatigue. So far, this is the only film in the series I felt I could live without.