A group of tourists are taken on a ghost-themed boat trip through the spooky, night-time New Orleans swamps, when the boat unexpectedly sinks, and they discover the legend of disfigured psycho killer Victor Crowley might not be as fictional as they all thought.
Hatchet was the first horror feature film from writer/director Adam Green, and it shows a big affection for the slasher sub genre of the 1980s. Not only does it follow many of the 'rules', but it also features cameos by actors known for playing iconic lead roles in horror movies of the time. There is even an amusing nod to Friday The 13th (1980) towards the end. The 'old-fashioned' slasher feel is helped by the use of practical effects for most of the gore sequences, keeping CGI to an absolute minimum, which I really appreciated. And Kane Hodder manages to give Victor Crowley a terrifying presence, just from his movement and posture.
The gore is totally over the top in a similar way to Peter Jackson's Braindead/Dead Alive (1992). It's visually impressive and shocking, yet it's so excessive it's hard to take seriously and becomes a lot of grisly fun. The film has a knowing sense of humour throughout, causing me to laugh loudly several times. It has a great cast of very likeable and entertaining characters, who prevent the film from taking itself too seriously. The acting and the witty script add a surprisingly effective comedy element, which balances well with the horror. Something many other horror-comedies fail to get right.
While Hatchet is atmospheric and gory, it isn't especially frightening, but that really didn't affect my enjoyment of this fun movie. If you like your horror packed with OTT gore, laugh-out-loud humour, jiggling bare boobies, and characters you actually like, then I really recommend Hatchet.