Both the Hatchet series and its creator Adam Green have strong links to Frightfest – as well as showing the movies Frightfest hosted a live commentary for the first, and since Hatchet‘s premiere in 2006 Adam has attended a total of 7 Frightfests bringing his movies and also taking time with friend and fellow filmmaker Joe Lynch to produce several special shorts for the fest.
This year, the saga of Victor Crowley comes to a bloody end in Hatchet III and whilst keeping writing duties, Adam hands over directing to regular cameraman BJ McDonnell. In a similar way to Hatchet II, the film directly follows its predecessor, opening with a tried and bloody Marybeth (Danielle Harris) heading to a police station to recount the numerous deaths and the truth about Victor Crowley. As is typical for a slasher movie, the police assume Marybeth is responsible for the killers and lock her up while sending out a team to recover the bodies from the swamp. Or to put it another way, providing fresh blood for Crowley… Being a finale, the stakes are higher, loose ends are wrapped up, and there’s tankerloads of fake blood ready to flow!
Like the previous films, there are lots of nods to horror past and present, not least of which include roles for Gremlins star Zach Galligan, scream queen Caroline Williams (the second and third Texas Chainsaw Massacre films) and Derek Mears who replaced Victor Crowley actor Kane Hodder as Jason in the remake of Friday the 13th. This time round, the swamp really was a New Orleans swamp, and there is a good sense of atmosphere. This is bolstered by the cast clearly enjoying themselves despite what must have been very challenging filming conditions – Adam Green described pretty much every day having someone in the cast or crew going to the ER at some point, and runins with bugs whose larvae grow under the skin and can only be killed by acetone (Troughton-era Cybertechnology?) so requiring production staff to paint nail polish remover in places it was really never intended to go…
Funny and gory with excellent kills, Hatchet III is great fun and a fitting end to the trilogy. In terms of personal preference I think Hatchet II just about shades it, but the whole trilogy is impressively consistent and excellent entertainment. If you fancy a bloody flashback to the slashers of the 80s, get in the popcorn and enjoy! ****