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July 13, 2017

Hatchet III

by Franz Patrick


Hatchet III (2013)
★ / ★★★★

Marybeth (Danielle Harris) thought Victor Crowley (Kane Hodder) was dead. She had just shot him in the face after all. But after taking a couple of steps away from her assailant, he springs right back to life. And they are once again at it.

Deciding to watch “Hatchet III,” written by Adam Green, is like biting into a rotten apple. Actually sitting through it, as I have, is a choice to keep chewing and finishing that bad apple. I was in a mood for blood, which the film delivers by the bucketload, but the script is glaringly bad, as if it were written by a high school student who has neither read very many books nor seen very many scary movies. Just about every ingredient is formulaic which makes the entire picture a bore.

One of its most important misstep is not allowing the survivor, Marybeth, to do very much other than to look brooding and spewing out would-be snarky lines. What good is a final girl when, for more than half the picture, she sits in a car not doing or saying anything remotely interesting? Harris is a charismatic performer and she is best when in motion. Having her character sit in a jail or in a vehicle is waste of the actor’s talent.

As expected, the blood is generous and it will please fans of the red goo. However, the kills are devoid of joy. There is not one genuinely suspenseful scene in which a character we care about is chased through the Louisiana swamp. There is only men and women holding guns, a rustling of the leaves nearby, and the inevitable contact with the urban legend that is Victor Crowley. It gets repetitive and tiring real quick when you can predict just about every step the film is about to make. Director BJ McDonnell lacks inspiration.

There is one new character I liked but she is not utilized exceptionally well. Amanda Pearlman (Caroline Williams), a journalist and ex-wife of the sheriff (Zach Galligan), is a self-proclaimed expert on the Crowley legend. Her character is utilized to establish the rules and to reveal to the final girl what must be done in order to put an end to the gruesome murders. She is capably acted by Williams but her character is not given dimension beyond merely functioning as a convenient tool of the plot.

“Hatchet III” offers a few amusing moments, like the scene between Deputy Winslow (Robert Diago DoQui) and a racist redneck (Sid Haig), but there are not enough chuckles or laughs to tolerate the lack of scares, fresh ideas, and unexpected moments. At this point, the series is exhausted beyond means and it is best laid to rest.

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