31 Screams in October, Vol. 3, #23: Hatchet II (2010)

Posted: October 27, 2016 in Movie Review
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23. Hatchet II (2010)

Director: Adam Green

Starring: Danielle Harris, Tony Todd, Kane Hodder, Parry Shen, Tom Holland, R.A. Mihailoff, A.J. Bowen, Alexis Peters, Ed Ackerman, David Foy, Colton Dunn, Rick McCallum

No mistake, “Hatchet” was a visual treat for all horror fans. But that abrupt ending still sticks in the mind. There needed to be more story! Fortunately, that’s where “Hatchet II” comes in handy. Besides continuing the plot, “Hatchet II” would also have to deal with the need to recast its returning lead character. Considering that the cast of the first film was filled with genre actors, it made perfect sense to add another one to the mix. So… back to it!

Picking up immediately where “Hatchet” left off, Marybeth Dunston (now played by Danielle Harris) narrowly escapes an attack from Victor Crowley (Kane Hodder) and seeks refuge in a cabin occupied by Jack Cracker (John Carl Beuchler), the ‘prophet of doom’ from the first film. She is soon chased out of the cabin at gunpoint after divulging her surname. Jack tells her to seek out Reverend Zombie (Tony Todd). Soon after she leaves, Victor Crowley kills Jack Cracker by pulling out his intestines, using them to strangle him with such force that Jack is decapitated (all for comic effect, of course)!

When Marybeth goes to see Reverend Zombie, he tells her the tour boat she boarded was one of his. After learning her last name, Zombie also tells Marybeth that her father was one of the teenagers who accidentally set fire to the Crowley house, the incident which led to Victor’s accidental death (as detailed in the first film). It is also revealed that Victor was the product of an affair between his father, Thomas (Kane Hodder), and a nurse who was caring for Thomas’s dying wife.

Marybeth insists upon returning to the swamp to retrieve the bodies of her dead father and brother. Reverend Zombie agrees to take her, on one very specific condition: Marybeth must bring along a family member. It takes some doing, but Marybeth manages to persuade her uncle Bob (noted horror actor/writer/director Tom Holland) to accompany her. Reverend Zombie forms a posse with the promise of payment. He also lies to Justin (Parry Shen) about the fate of his twin brother Shawn.

Once in the swamp, the tour boat is located, and the group splits up to search for both Victor Crowley and the bodies of Marybeth’s family. Reverend Zombie tells Justin the identities of the three kids who started the fire that killed Victor Crowley: In addition to Marybeth’s father, Sampson, there also was his brother and Trent Graves (R.A. Mihailoff), the latter of whom is part of the posse which Zombie has brought to the swamp. The Reverend believes that Crowley’s soul can finally rest once he’s avenged himself upon each of his three former tormentors.

As the search for the bodies of Sampson and Ainsley Dunston carries on, Victor Crowley systematically kills off each member of the hunting party one-by-one in increasingly absurd ways. At this point, the only survivors left are Marybeth, Bob, Trent, Justin, and Revernd Zombie. Barricading themselves inside the Crowley cabin, they do not remain safe for long. Justin is killed first. In a futile attempt to save him, Bob accidentally lets Victor inside the cabin. Victor kills Trent first, and then tunrs his attention to Bob. Reverend Zombie grabs Marybeth and leaves, but not before locking Bob inside. Victor kills Bob rather easily. Marybeth is distraught, but Reverend Zombie stands victorious. The Reverend’s bubble is quickly burst when Marybeth tells him that her uncle died years ago, and that Bob is merely her father’s best friend.

A very much alive Victor Crowley emerges from the cabin and kills Reverend Zombie. Marybeth has seen enough. Using Victor’s own hatchet against him, Marybeth sinks it right into Victor’s forehead. Unsatisfied after he has fallen to the ground, Marybeth hits Victor over and over again with the hatchet until very little resembling a skull remains. She then walks off-screen as Victor’s body continues to twitch, returning with Reverend Zombie’s shotgun which she unloads into Victor’s exposed brains. As she does this, the movie abruptly ends.

In many ways, I find “Hatchet II” to be a sequel that surpasses the original. Once again, it’s the collection of horror icons as well as the copious amounts of blood and gore that make it all work. Although I miss Tamara Feldman as Marybeth, I’m a huge Danielle Harris fan, so having her on board for “Hatchet II” was a major selling point for me. I can’t imagine this movie without Danielle. There is, of course, a “Hatchet III,” but I’ve not seen that one yet and don’t currently have access to a copy, so a review of that film will have to wait for another time. As for “Hatchet II,” if you liked the first one (and I can’t see any reason why you shouldn’t), then Part II will give you everything you’re looking for.

  1. Sylvia Williams says:

    Aha! The rare sequel which you can recommend as better than the original! But what could possibly be left for a Hatchet III? It would take an incredibly ingenious writer and plot.

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