First off let me begin by stating that I am a complete ‘Hatchet’ nut and could not possibly be fonder of this franchise. The first two films in the series are without question two of the most watched Blu-Ray’s I own and I have been eagerly anticipating the third chapter. I can say that without question I found ‘Hatchet III’ to be the best entry in the franchise and I would give it my highest recommendation to any fellow ‘Hatchet’ fans.
While I know many were questionable about the fact Adam Green would not be returning to direct this installment, I personally never found reason to be concerned. Green still wrote it, and BJ McDonnell has been with ‘Hatchet’ since the start. The only element of the film that felt different to me from previous entries was the choice to shoot this one in a 2.35:1 Cinemascope Aspect Ratio as opposed to the 1.78:1 Aspect Ratio the first two were filmed in. This element may be distracting when transitioning through films while doing a marathon of all three (which I’m certain I will be doing countless times), though no more distracting than the recasting of Mary Beth in ‘Hatchet II’. BJ McDonnell did a wonderful job taking over the helm as director and I couldn’t have possibly been more pleased with the result.
‘Hatchet III’ definitely feels like it could easily be the final installment in the franchise (which Green has referenced it being if I remember correctly) but could certainly also pick up again with a fourth entry if they ever so desire to make another. This one definitely is the goriest of all three and where the other two films seemed to take some time to really get into the carnage, here we are presented with it at a much earlier state, though there is of course some time still dedicated to building up and introducing the characters. ‘Hatchet III’ seems to have finally found the perfect pace for the series. Where the previous entries somewhat jumbled all of the kills together, here they have found the perfect timing and setup in which to keep things continuously exciting while taking short breathers (so to speak) and still making certain to have some truly insane moments occurring at frequent intervals throughout. The body count clocks in at well over 15 and there are some quite humorous moments and in-jokes that really help it to be so thoroughly enjoyable. There are also a couple of pretty fun surprise cameos that I of course will not spoil for you here.
Danielle Harris is great and gorgeous as always portraying the lead role of Mary Beth for the second time in the three films. She is definitely one of the better leading ladies in the horror genre right now if you ask me and I’m always pleased with her performances. Kane Hodder is brutal and mesmerizing returning for the third time to the role of Victor Crowley. Probably the most notable performance to me was that of Zach Galligan who I haven’t seen much of in recent memory yet really gave a wonderful performance as Sherriff Fowler. Derek Mears and a number of others also give noteworthy performances that horror fans are sure to appreciate.
‘Hatchet III’ is the best entry in the franchise, action packed, gruesome and with spectacular gore effects (how can you not love a series that prides itself on its no CGI rule) and is just a wonderfully fun ride from start to finish. While I had high hopes for this film, I was blown away and quite pleasantly surprised with just how fantastic it truly was.
‘Hatchet III’ will be released in limited theaters and on Video On Demand tomorrow, June 14 from MPI & Dark Sky. You can find a listing of theaters and VOD providers with ‘Hatchet III’ on the film’s official website.