Hatchet II Review (The not-so-special anniversary edition!)

Hatchet II (2010)

Starring: Danielle Harris, Kane Hodder, Tony Todd
Directed by: Adam Green



Here we have it, the one year anniversary of Cut! Print! Scream!! We've seen some changes, we've seen quite a few reviews and we've seen a LOT of bad jokes. Yeah, it's been a good year. And if you've enjoyed it, then you're definitely in luck, because this year isn't going to be much different. So stick around for another year of gory movies and shitty jokes, because...well, let's be honest. What else do you have to be doing right now, huh? Exactly.

Anyway, today we will be looking at the sequel to Hatchet, properly named Hatchet II. Why? Because Hatchet was my first review and this is the first anniversary, that's why. Enjoy!


The Premise

Having survived her nightmarish trek into the bayou by the skin of her teeth, Marybeth (Danielle Harris) returns to Reverend Zombie (Tony Todd) for help. Being the kind-hearted fraud he is, the Reverend quickly puts together a random assortment of hunters and general militiamen for a return trip, but not before spilling the beans to Marybeth about the truth behind Viktor Crowley (Kane Hodder) and what it has to do with her family.


"I said a HALF Windsor!!"




 The First Stitches

Hatchet II opens literally where the first movie left off -- Marybeth is in a death struggle with the rampaging ghoul, Victor Crowley. Luckily, she's able to free herself and escape to the water where she's later rescued by the droopy-eyed fisherman from the first movie.

Back at the hermit's cabin, Marybeth lets loose her story, which pretty much boils down to "My daddy died, so I came to see what killed him." It becomes apparent Daddy has something to do with the murderous specter milling about when the fisherman demands she leave immeidately and never return to the swamps after she tells him her full name. Unfortunately, though, her departure only leads to the appearance of Victor Crowley who promptly rids the fisherman of that annoying bubble on his neck with an intestine tourniquet (read: he strangles him with his own intestines until his head pops off).

With nowhere else to go, Marybeth makes a beeline straight to Reverend Zombie's shop. When the Reverend learns Marybeth's lineage, he provides her with the truth about himself and her father. From there, the Reverend rounds up a bunch of local hunters, albeit under the misinformation that they are to be searching for a boat...with guns...



Mending the Seams

Plot: As a continuation to the original story, Hatchet II kept the situation straightforward and linear; the entire movie revolves around a subplot from the original wherein Marybeth is out to avenger her father and it doesn't really stray too much from that path. There are a couple side plots (including Perry Shen returning as Justin who joins the search to figure out what happened to his missing twin brother, Shawn), but they don't really go anywhere, or in one case lead specifically to a kill scene. The story overall, though, rolls out at a decent clip. There's just enough exposition to balance the action and tension, giving just enough of the plot to care...until the heads started splitting.

Pun intended.

Characters: Aside from Marybeth, every main character is the same from the first movie. According to IMDb, this was a specific stipulation from the director and in my opinion, it definitely worked out. At first, I wasn't too sure about Danielle Harris taking over as Marybeth, but in the end, her performance was decent. The only real scene involving Marybeth I found memorable or amusing, though, was on the boat with Vernon (Colton Dunn). And speaking of which, I would like to personally vote Vernon the most irritatingly likable character in the movie. By far, he was probably the biggest asshole in the film, but in the end, it was great comic relief.

Setting/Atmosphere: Again, much of this section was the same as the last movie. The scenes in the swindler's shop, much like the scenes out in the bayou with Crowley all felt familiar. Considering it's been like a day, tops, since the first movie, this was a good thing. Continuity and whatnot, right?

Wrong on so many levels...

Special Effects: The main thing this movie did in relation to the special effects was add more blood. A LOT more blood. There was a lot to like as this movie simply overflowed with decapitations and disembowelments. And it was a little hard to pick a specific favorite death scene, but in the end, there was something about the chainsaw scene that just, I dunno, touched me.

Music/Audio: The riffs and tracks for this movie did very well to keep with the mood of their relative scenes. I was most fond of the swamp scenes, personally. And from the crickets in the bayou to the sound of Victor Crowley's hatchet bashing in the frontal hemisphere of a hunter's skull, the sound effects were pretty much spot on.

The Binding Stitch

Ultimately, I found this movie enjoyable, but not quite as much as the first one. It was a fun return to the deep, dark depths of the Louisiana swamps,it just didn't quite have the same charm as the first movie. I suppose that's the general concept with sequels, though, so take that for what you will. I really did like the movie altogether and feel it is another great addition to any slasher fan's collection. Unfortunately, though, it seems Adam Green will not be directing the third installment to the series, so let's hope this next movie can keep up the pace and wrap this trilogy up proper.

"I bet you want these pasties to go away, don'cha? Well, go watch the movie!"

13 Artists Who Should Do A Horror Cameo

Over the years, we've seen a lot of different (and awesome) artists and bands do cameos in some of our favorite horrors. The Offspring made a gripping appearance in the Devon Sawa vehicle (and Jessica Alba hotness radar debut), Idle Hands, Gavin Rossdale was thoroughly trounced by the eponymous Constantine and the sexy-as-hell Fergie was  torn limb from limb in the Robert Rodriguez insta-classic, Planet Terror. Hell, we even just talked about Harry Connick, Jr in the last review. Today, I (with the help of a few friend suggestions) will be presenting a list of 13 different artists whom l believe would be great to see in a horror movie as a cameo or possibly even a starring role.



Mindless Self Indulgence


If you've never seen a MSI video, shame on you. If you've never even heard of MSI, get the hell out. Easily my first pick for the list due to their work on the recently released Lollipop Chainsaw. Personal preference: sporadic cameos of the separate members of the group in a monster flick of some sort. Preferably one with dogs--lots of demon dogs!





Paul Reubens


Despite his rather excellent role in the vampire classic, Buffy the Vampire Slayer, this entry is in no regards based on that. As a matter of fact, I'll admit, in the realm of artists and rockers, Paul really has no business being here (aside from some dubbing for Lock in The Nightmare Before Christmas). But there is a saving grace that earns a  nomination. This one scene alone completely changed the course of history for this one song. Forever will the immediate memory of this little diddy remain that of a gyrating Pee Wee Herman. And for anyone with the complaint that this is a somewhat shallow reasoning, I'll refute with two words: Christopher Walken.



Michael Bublé


One thing I've come to appreciate over the years has been big band music. Following crooners like Bing Crosby and The Chairman of the Board, Michael BublĂ© is easily among one of the more enjoyable singers of our era. But to keep on topic, wouldn't it be nice if after the awesomeness that was Repo: The Genetic Opera, we were treated to maybe another horror musical/rock opera featuring this mug belting ballads about the beautiful corpse the protag is infatuated with or maybe the gory exploits of a serial killer?



t.a.T.u.



Three words: Hot. Russian. Vampires.
You're welcome, Hollywood.



Phil Collins


Say what you want about Phil Collins, but Genesis was the shit and so was the solo stuff. I could picture this one as the rambling doomsayer of an apocalypse-type horror (Think Kareem Abdul-Jabbar in The Stand, but with an accent).



Tina Turner

This one was actually a pretty sweet wallpaper found here.

Werewolves. Werewolves! WEREWOLVES!!!




Skrillex


I'm not a fan of dubstep, but that's cool because I don't discriminate against awesome cameos. Throw this guy in a gas station somewhere and the scene writes itself. Decapitation? Disemboweled and spread across the shelves? I don't care, it'll be good.


Prince


What can I say about Prince? Vampires, zombies, werewolves, slashers, you name it, they're not cool enough for HIM. Even still, I would not be surprised if one of these happened and they somehow worked in those ass-less chaps. Yeah...you know you still remember those...



deadmau5


What I said earlier about dubstep extends to house/electro and whatnot, but to say seeing this epic helmet off in the corner of a mob of zombies wouldn't be awesome would be nothing short of lying.



Robbie Williams 


For anyone either too young or just doesn't remember, this video (Rock DJ) is enough for a qualification for the list. Seriously, anyone who remembers when this one came out probably remembers the international cringe-fest which ensued afterward.



Damon Albarn/ Jamie Hewlett


If you listen closely to a Gorillaz album, you can hear the sounds of someone who must have a pretty decent appreciation of George Romero's movies. Not listed in that link is that they sampled the opening from Day of the Dead in a loop for M1A1, one of my personal favs. Here's a link to the song. At the very least, Damon Albarn (of Blur fame as well) and Jamie Hewlett should fittingly be mauled by a shambling horde of undead. You know, because appreciation.



Robert Smith (The Cure)


A drifter temporarily possessed by a pissed off demon or an occult specialist either would be perfect...just don't lose the hair. Ever.



New Found Glory



Most likely not the first "da fuq?!" moment on this list, but still, hear me out here. When you hear "New Found Glory", you may first think of emo pop punk (which is understandable, since these guys helped with the movement along with Blink-182, Green Day and many others), but what I don't really ever hear mentioned along with that is Troma. You know, "Class of Nuke 'em High and Toxic Avenger" Troma? Yeah, they did a video for NFG previously, if you didn't know...or care. Anyway, personal opinion: they should do a movie for Troma.





BONUS!!!


Better Than Ezra


Honorable mention only because I feel they would have been a somewhat appropriate cameo somewhere in the Hatchet series. I'm just saying...



Lindsay Lohan


"Why??", you ask? Because getting torn apart by the undead will probably be the best thing she did since Freaky Friday.






*Huge thanks to Jessica, Bobby, Desean and Caitlyn!! Thanks for the suggestions!

Engaging in social experiences

Looking for a place to mingle and chat about horror and horror related stuff? Ever wanted to post a list of your favorite horror movies without worrying about getting ripped on because you hated Saw? Well, you're in luck!

At Horrormansion, there is a small, but growing community of blood and gore loving horrorphiles just waiting to greet you and hear what you have to say about Uwe Boll and how much he sucks (or rocks...)!

Feel free to drop in and join up!

Bug Review

BUG (2006)

Starring: Ashley Judd, Michael Shannon, Harry Connick, Jr
Directed by: William Friedkin




One of the best experiences I had as a kid was The Exorcist. Hands down. That movie scared the ass outta me not because someone was trying to guilt trip me into believing a book of stories, but because it was just so damned awesome (seriously, fuck you, Mel Gibson...). Those feelings, of course, carried over when the psychological horror thriller known as Bug was originally announced and, honestly, aside from an episode of Tales from the Crypt, I've not really seen anything else by William Friedkin, so this was an opportunity to see just how well this would hold up in comparison to childhood memories.

The Premise

Bug is about an unstable motel dweller named Agnes White (Ashley Judd) who meets and forms a relationship with an ex-military drifter, Peter Evans (Michael Shannon). As their relationship quickly builds, so do their anxieties as Agnes's abusive ex, Jerry Goss (Harry Connick, Jr) shows up fresh from lockdown, just before they realize their room is rapidly becoming infested with tiny blood-leeching bugs.


The First Stitches

The film begins at a relatively slow, but unstable pace. Our heroine, Agnes, is receiving phone call after phone call after phone call from an unknown source which she immediately assumes is her abusive ex, Jerry. More awkwardness comes about soon after when she temporarily ditches her motel room homestead for a quick trip to the super market.


The hell could she be staring at like thi--


((O_O))


*ahem* After the hypnotic effect of the ever-mesmerizing red onions wears off, the movie takes a more social route as Agnes meets up with her friend, Schwing, I mean R.C. (played by Lynn Collins) who subsequently introduces her to the film's hero, Peter. After R.C.'s abrupt departure from the motel, the two begin to mingle, learning more about each other. Agnes relates she's really not much of a party-hound, Peter relates he picks up on things "not apparent". He even shows her that if she blinks just right, she could also see the little people in the painting on her wall. At this point the mind-fuckery begins to take a bit of an upturn as they begin to search the domicile for a rogue cricket (read "smoke alarm") that has been noising the place up for a few minutes. The Magic 8-Ball knows just how to deal with that. It also knows why this scene is significant.

But it ain't sayin' nothing just yet...

Anyway, after leaving for a little while, Peter returns with a nice little toothache in tow (this is significant a little later in the movie). The morning brings a little more comfort, though, as Agnes wakes to the sound of a shower running and the smell of hot, fresh java brewing in the kitchen. This glimmer of good fortune soon turns to mush when she finds the person who has gotten her morning off to such a sweet scented start isn't Peter, but someone from her past with a few questions that need to be answered. Guess who...


Mending the Seams

Plot: The overall plot to Bug is relatively enjoyable when you initially detach yourself from the title and view it as a whole. The story is full of many cues and clues that things just aren't right, and I'm not even talking about the drugs (that shit's bad enough as it is...). The only real downfall is that some of these cues are easily missed if you haven't been paying attention to the subtly laid backgrounds. Notice the helicopter or the cricket in the very beginning? Simple stuff like that seems negligible at first, but upon re-watching, it slaps you in the face with the white glove of significance.

All in all, though, the pros tend to outweigh the cons in relation to this movie's pacing and content. Sometimes it feels over the top in a way that makes no sense, but when you have a movie that involves severe mental illnesses, conspiracy theories and and a plot twist that would make M. Night a bit jealous, it all comes kinda together on its own. The last 20-30 minutes of the movie alone will make you question the validity of Peter's tale, as well as at what point Agnes had truly cracked. There truly is a lot more than meets the eye here.

Characters: To say I liked the different personalities in this movie would be an understatement. From Agnes's desperate, beaten and downtrodden demeanor to Jerry's overbearing "love", this movie presents a nice troupe of generally fucked up people with some fucked up problems. On the specific actor side, Michael Shannon truly sells "psycho" as Peter quickly ramps up the "bat shit crazy" about halfway through the movie or so. I was also extremely impressed by Harry Connick Jr., mainly because I don't really watch any of his movies, so I didn't quite know what I was in store for. As far as I can tell, the guy does a pretty sweet job of playing an abusive prick..almost as well as he puts on a live performance.

Ashley Judd's Agnes White was a bit eerie in her demented submissiveness. As her mind melds more and more with Peter's, she drops farther from reality into a deeper spiral of desperation and sadness. And while she seems to be a bit too willing to go along for the ride, you have to keep in consideration that this is a woman who is hurting and suffering in a way many couldn't fathom. 




Setting/Atmosphere: The general motel setting of the movie was definitely a compliment to the story. The relative isolation is symbolic in that while there are people around and Agnes has an apparent friend in R.C., she's still swimming in a sea of loneliness and desperation, all while being haunted by a past trauma that she could never possibly hope to get over.

The motel room itself felt as if it represented the inner workings of her mind; initially, it's cluttered, but functional. Nothing really stands out, but there's also nothing really there. As the movie progresses and they begin taking measures to try to fight off the buggy "infestation", the room seems to represent her mind trying harder and harder to see what's not there; to believe the bugs are real. Occasionally Peter is left alone roaming around inside, pumping more bug spray (read: fueling the delusion), hanging more fly traps and bug zappers. Personally, I think he should have just gotten something like this and been done with it. All that mess...

Special Effects: And speaking of messes, I will have to say this movie had pretty good effects. Most notably for me was probably the tooth scene that was mentioned before. Prior to the unnecessary metal session (noted below), this scene was probably the most cringe-worthy of them all. Michael Shannon also really portrays the pain and anguish well in this scene. And on that note, as Peter and Agnes get worse into their condition, their outward appearance is rapidly reflected by a growing number of sores and legions that begin to appear all over their body. I think I started itching a little bit just watching them...

Music/Audio: I don't have many gripes about the audio quality of Bug. Overall, the music seemed to fit the scenario, aside from the interlude after the tooth scene. Don't get me wrong, I do enjoy my heavy metal, but that one moment just felt so out of place for the tone of this movie. I didn't really have a serious problem with anything else and though I did mention that some of the audio cues were easy to miss, I don't find it so much of an issue considering this movie is definitely worth watching more than once anyway.


The Binding Stitch

One major thing to realize about Bug is it's a movie whose title is essentially a misnomer/red herring that's also a sort of double entendre. In the end, though, it goes from the pretense of being an insect horror to a much deeper, slightly richer, cerebral experience that is worth the time to view. I would personally recommend this movie for any fans of methodical, but extremely "out there" thrillers.