Saturday, August 10, 2013

Hatchet III (Dark Sky Films Blu-ray Review) - Commentary Tracks Matter

I have watched the first and second Hatchet once a year for the last couple of years since Hatchet II came out. Confession: I have disliked both Hatchet I and II. I enjoy the clever and gratuitous kill scenes and can appreciate the humor, however I didn’t “get into them”. No real reason. I’ve written about this a few times, and I only bring it up for one reason, especially since this is actually a review of the Blu-ray edition of Hatchet III. The commentary provides by Adam Green, BJ McDonnell, Will Barratta and Robert Pendergrast created a serious desire to explore the first two entries in the series again, listen to the available commentary and, hopefully, appreciate the two previous installments in the Hatchet franchise. Enough with the confessions; let’s review this sucker.

Synopsis from Dark Sky:

Concluding the saga begun in Adam Green's hit 2006 thriller, HATCHET III follows the vengeful Marybeth (Halloween's Danielle Harris) as she continues seeking out a way to destroy Victor Crowley (Kane Hodder, Friday the 13th), a hulking, seemingly-invincible sociopath rampaging through a sleepy Louisiana swamp. 

While a heavily-armed team of mercenaries takes to the bayou surrounding Crowley's home, Marybeth finds herself begrudgingly teaming up with a local policeman (Gremlins star Zach Galligan) and his ex-wife (Caroline Williams, Texas Chainsaw Massacre 2) - an expert on the maniac who may have uncovered the secret to ending his murderous rampage once and for all.


First I want to point you to my review of Hatchet III HERE. You can read about what I specifically thought about the movie’s content when I first watched it on VOD. I will re-iterate some of that here but wanted to make available the entire package. Second, you can listen to Shawn Savage, Jeff Konopka and I discuss Hatchet III in our Dead Air Podcast episode that goes through Hatchet III, V/H/S/2 and This is the End.  Thanks for listening in advance. 

This is a fine looking disc. It’s high definition transfer with audio available in 5.1 surround sound and with plenty of special features to satisfy the Hatchet fans. As previously mentioned there is a commentary track that includes Writer-Producer, Adam Green, Director, BJ McDonnell, Cinematographer, Will Barratta and Make-Up Effects Artist, Robert Pendergraft. That’s the one that got me pumped to revisit, again, the rest of the series which I highly recommend for fans of the series and for would-be filmmakers. There’s also an additional commentary track that features Adam Green, BJ McDonnell and actor/stunt coordinator, Kane Hodder which is definitely worth you time.

The behind the scenes feature is good fun showing some of the finer points of film production (of a gore picture), scene construction, candid actor/actress discussion and a whole lotta rain (you’ll see). Caroline Williams, one of my favorites, just poors on the heartfelt thanks at one point during the making of feature which had me a little teary-eyed. I’m a total mush. The Raising Kane feature that follows Kane Hodder through the make-up application is good for your practical effects guys. There’s a brief discussion of the difference between the make-up application between each film and an up close and personal look at each of the costume applications applied to Hodder daily. I’ve seen him in person and he’s build like a brick shit house. If he says it’s heavy, you may want to start lifting weights now. Also included is a Swamp Fun featurette.

For my second time watching Hatchet III I decided to focus on the commentary which was previously unavailable to me, but that commentary drew my eyes to many of the effects sequences in the movie as well as explosions and actor performances. It was an interactive experience, learning how each scene was formed and how the crew felt about each scene. In some cases I think these fellas actually scare or disturb themselves, but they tell a fun new legend to add to the canon of Victor Crowley. If you want to find out where the story might have gone, you’ll find out as well as some of the motivation behind key scenes in the movie.

 While Green/McDonnell and co. seem to hint that we may see more Crowley in the future at the studio’s request, it seems that this was their last vision in the series. We’ll see who returns if return there will be. I’m ready for another story if there’s a plausible, retro-slasher back story and if the proper actors can be secured to keep this a horror fan cameo wet dream. Let’s not pile a bunch of no-names into the swamp and dismember them. We can save that for the music video for the 80’s metal theme song to be specially written by an accomplished horror shock rocker specifically for the movie (think Alice Cooper performing He’s Back only Hatchet). 

Hatchet III is available 8/13  on stunning Blu-ray (follow the link below). It’s great to add to your already existing Hatchet collection and a good way to start off your V.C. love if you haven’t enjoyed the series. Don’t expect a re-invented wheel, but maybe a more full wheel with adequate tire pressure, tired not balled and air cap firmly in place. I want you to remember something after you’ve enjoyed Hatchet III; This is BJ McDonnell’s first trip to the show, his directorial debut. Great job, and can’t wait for your next effort. 


Note: Dark Sky Films, we’ll keep watching you like you’re The Thing From Another World.

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