Mind you, this is played as a punch line in itself. If you can see the absurdity within the annihilation, Hatchet III is recommended for you. And if not … well, hell, you already knew that.
Written — but not directed this time — by series creator Adam Green (TV’s Holliston), the third flick depicting the killing spree of Louisiana swampland slasher Victor Crowley (Kane Hodder, reprising his hideously deformed role) opens as 2010’s Hatchet II ended: with final girl Marybeth (Danielle Harris, Stake Land) defeating the man-beast.
Rather than receive credit for killing Crowley, the town sheriff (Gremlins‘ Zach Galligan) blames her for the dozens of corpses Crowley left behind. Worse, Crowley comes back to life — no surprise, although the explanation ensures more sequels may follow — so the authorities descend upon the swamp once more to take him down, severely underestimating his face-smashing, spine-yanking power.
Newbie director BJ McDonnell delights in seeing how wet and messy he can make each successive kill, especially for an unrated disc such as this. Those scenes are the whole point of the Hatchets; they can be fun and funny for the strong-stomached, and they certainly are expertly executed.
The problem is that Hatchet III isn’t all that different from Hatchet II. There are only so many times one can be impaled on a tree, y’know? Perhaps sensing a little self-fatigue, the carnival of carnage calls it quits after a swift 77 minutes.
Members of the Hatchet Army will appreciate Dark Sky Films’ Blu-ray release, complete with two commentaries, a nine-minute reel of bug-ridden “Swamp Fun” behind the scenes, a look at Hodder in the makeup chair, and other extras. —Rod Lott