You take your life in your hands if, as a FrightFest attendee, you admit publicly that you neither get – or really like – films from the Hatchet franchise. The premieres of these gore laden exercises in ultra violence by creator / writer / director Adam Green have become a part of the FrightFest tradition. However, watching Victor Crowely (2017) – the fourth film in the series – it’s hard to work out what all the fuss is about.
Victor Crowley (Kane Hodder) – the deformed, insane creature from the Louisiana Bayou – is back to cause more carnage amongst another group of unfortunates.
You may claim slasher films – like those from the Friday 13th and Halloween stables – have always been mere excuses to show increasingly inventive murders, awash in oceans of blood and guts. But that’s where the difference between them and Green’s creation lies. Where past genre entries have shown imagination in the way the film’s anti-heroes have despatched their hapless victims, Victor Crowley – the monster of the piece here – does little more that chop and rip his unfortunate prey apart with an axe (sorry, ‘hatchet’). Period! Though there are moments of genuine tension – usually, when Crowley is chasing yet another screaming girl or ‘macho’ man through his swampland lair – broken periodically with attempts at darkly comic relief, the end result is little more than a bloodfest of titanic proportions. The cast – consisting mainly of competent, though average character actors – do the basics which are required. However, as this mostly involves being cut dow to size anyway, award winning performances were never going to be the order of the day.
The comedic aspects on display – the films in the series are touted as ‘black’ comedy horrors – are generally of the schoolboy howler class: the film’s opening scene involving awkward kissing and copious amounts of snot, though amusing, will appear somewhat immature to anyone with even the slightest semblance of sophistication or taste. The said scene smacks of the opening from the classic British comedy / horror Carry On Screaming (1966): though to say that Green was influenced by that humorous masterpiece is likely giving too much credit.
Great secrecy has surrounded the release of the new film. There was doubt as to whether a new instalment had even been produced, with FrightFest audiences only being told the truth the week before the festival: in programmes and advance publicity it was being touted as a 10th anniversary screening of the original Hatchet (2006). One can’t help but feel however that such ‘gimmicks’ are merely being used to compensate for a film which lacks any real saving grace, and that the series’ legion of hardcore fans would be lining up to see anyway.
Victor Crowley is set to play at various festivals this autumn, with a wider theatrical release later in the year.
Director: Adam Green
Writer: Adam Green
Stars: Kane Hodder, Dave Sheridan, Brian Quinn,
Parry Shen, Tiffany Shepis, Felissa Rose
Runtime: 85 mins