The 80’s was definitely the era of the slasher film. After a decade of dominating the horror landscape, they began to fall into mediocrity among fans in the 90’s.
While Scream helped revive them for a brief time, they never really regained the status they once had. The 2000’s certainly has had its fair share of slashers released here and there. But as far as modern (post 2000) slasher franchises go, none get horror fan service right quite like Hatchet.
It Has Fun with its Premise
In the wake of Scream, there was a mild resurgence of slashers. Some tried to replicate their meta status (Urban Legend), while others didn’t try at all to be witty (I Know What You Did Last Summer).
Either way, the slasher craze never really took off like in the 80’s. But when the original Hatchet was released in 2006, it was the first slasher in years that felt like it really captures the spirit of the genre.
It’s cheesy, but intentionally so. Writer/director Adam Green set out to make a film that reminds that horror (especially slashers) can be great fun.
It demonstrated that a film didn’t need to dissect the genre as Scream did, in order to be a good representation of it. Everything from the setting, atmosphere, and array of one liners, makes the series memorable and entertaining.
It’s a Love Letter to Horror
For horror fans, it’s an especially fun series to watch, just from the myriad of recognizable faces from other films.
Since the beginning, Adam Green has been quite vocal that it was his love of horror that drove him to make these films. After the third one concluded in 2013, he believed that the series was done.
However, after the death of Wes Craven, and a conversation with George A. Romero about doing another film for the fans, he was inspired to make the fourth installment, 2017’s Victor Crowley.
And while it wasn’t received as well as the previous three films, it was rather inspiring to see Green set out on a passion project like it.
So many directors have a tendency to become pretentious as their films become successful. But it’s refreshing to see a director who truly loves the genre and enjoys the process.
It’s Old School
With CGI being so readily available in the 2000’s, a lot of horror films became far too dependent on it, and it really showed.
Gone were the creative animatronics and puppets of the 80’s. Instead they were replaced with pixelated eyesores that looked no better than PS3 graphics and took the audience out of the film.
Much to their credit however, the Hatchet films always used practical effects and makeup in lieu of CGI. Sure the blood and gore is over the top, but that’s very much the point!
Also, in a very interesting storytelling device, the first three films are all one continuous narrative. The second and films both begin with the final scene of the previous installment, thus the first three films all take place over one three day period.
It’s a very unique device that isn’t often used in horror, let alone most films in general. It helps give the series a flow, and makes for a very entertaining and fitting marathon viewing.
The fourth film, Victor Crowley ended on a bit of a cliffhanger as well, so we’ll see if Adam Green has any more Honey Island Massacres up his sleeve.
As far as modern slashers go, it’s difficult to find a series as entertaining or fun as this. It’s funny when it needs to be, cheesy when it needs to be, and over the top gory when it needs to be.
In an era where torture porn and later paranormal hauntings dominated the box office, it’s nice to see a slasher franchise that approaches the genre with glee and reminds us of a time when slasher villains were the kings of horror.
What’s your favorite thing about the Hatchet franchise? Let us know in the comments!
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