In 2006 most of the horror movies were remakes, reboots or cheap, tiresome rip-offs. In that context, Adam Green’s Hatchet came along with the promise to give brand new life to the slasher genre.
That movie spawned three sequels – of which Victor Crowley is the latest and will hit theatres on the 6th of February – and polarised slasher fans and movie critics in general: some consider it to be a wrenched, non-sensical and dumb gore fest, whereas others perceive it as the iconic horror franchise for millennials.
Personally, I’m part of the latter group of people. This is the first thing is important to state in this review: if you liked or loved the first three Hatchet movies, you’ll most likely fall in love with this one as well. Otherwise, you’re going to despise it as much as you do with the previous entrances in this franchise.
Once again written and directed by Adam Green, Victor Crowley shows us that not only has Andrew (Parry Shen) from Hatchet III survived, but he’s written an autobiographic book about his survival to Crowley: the hilariously titled “I, Survivor”. With this we’re introduced to an expanding ensemble of characters: a young trio of filmmakers trying to shoot a movie about The Bayou Butcher and the production crew for a talk show returning to the site of the murders for one final interview with Andrew, who has only agreed to participate on the word of his manager (a hysterical Felissa Rose) of a $1 million pay-out. But of course, things don’t go as planned as the plane they’re on crashes in the swamp where Victor Crowley can be summoned through a voodoo witch-craft.
If you’re familiar with Hatchet I, II and III you’d know what to expect from the fourth entrance of this franchise: a striking balance between bloody, gruesome killings that heavily rely on awesomely crafted practical effects, accompanied by a level of comforting solace in familiarity. In fact, every slasher fanatic is accustomed to the locations of Victor Crowley even if they didn’t watch the film: scary and abandoned cabins in the woods around a creepy and atmospheric swamp. Sounds familiar? Well, that’s because this is the Hatchet way to pay homage to the 80s slasher sub-genre, while also taking inspiration from The Hills Have Eyes and the Wrong Turn flicks.
Yet, in comparison to its predecessors, Victor Crowley ups the comedic aspect and production values. In my opinion, this is the only horror franchise that gets better with each instalment and this latest flick is no exception: every single trait that fans of these movies are used to is still here, but at the same time there’s the clear attempt by Green to improve the script (characters are more compelling and hilarious; jokes have a much better timing) and polish the picture. This is the first entrance in the Hatchet franchise that looks more like a legit throwback gruesome film than a B-slasher-movie.
Although this review might sound already more than positive, there’s one aspect that make Victor Crowley stand out within the franchise: the previous instalments were fuelled primarily by the initial marketing that aimed to make Victor Crowley an icon. Thus, he was on screen for an unusual huge amount of time, which had the downside of removing any tension from the film. In this latest chapter, Adam Green proves himself capable of building actual tension and uneasiness by casting Crowley in shadows, hiding him in the darkness and, as a consequence, making him genuinely frightening.
Played by the always delightful Kane Hodder (who we’ll see later this year in Death House), Victor Crowley takes the cake for best slasher villain in the 2000s (at least for me) due to its convincing goosebumps-inducing presence during the four Hatchet films.
As much as I loved Victor Crowley, there are a few complaints I have with the movie. To begin with, there are too many fake jump-scares which, despite being played for satirical purposes, just make the intensity of the scenes fade away.
Yet, some of the character are more annoying than entertaining – even though most of them are indeed very funny. Plus, during the first act, there are 10 minutes in which the film jumps back and forth to two different groups of characters for no reason, thus this part of Victor Crowley seems very much unnecessary and dull.
Other than that, Victor Crowley is a blast for fans of the genre. My best way to describe this film is comparing it to the horror version of a Family Guy episode filled with unapologetic jokes and awesome gory effects.
Victor Crowley 8/10
In this case, my grade might be seen as a bit of a stretch if you don’t like the Hatchet movies. However, as this film is aimed to those fans, I can’t help but think the filmmakers succeeded once again in creating a hugely entertaining, gruesome slasher flick. Probably, the best one in the entire franchise, so far!
Click the follow button to subscribe to HorrorWorld&Reviews
Follow me on Twitter @Horroreviews: https://twitter.com/horroreviews
My review will be also available on IMDb – Victor Crowley