PLOT: A group of tourists are terrorized by an urban legend as they take a haunted boat tour through the Louisiana swamps.
2006 was a weird time for filmmaking. While Hollywood was off making movies about interconnected stories with varying degrees of success, technology was opening the door for independent filmmakers to make a movie on a shoestring budget. Digital cameras were the wave of the future; the only problem is that, when looking back on it, the technology wasn’t quite there yet. This era of digital filmmaking, if we’re being honest, looks like shit in retrospect. Hatchet is one of these movies.
Hatchet tells the story of that other nerdy white guy from Dodgeball bemoaning his breakup in New Orleans, so he takes a haunted boat ride with his best friend, Deon Richmond, who is unironically playing the token black guy, three years after he played the role in Not Another Teen Movie. They hook up with Bill Murray’s brother, who is some sort of Joe Francis-type (again, this is the mid-2000s), two naive prospective adult actresses, a midwestern couple, and a loner chick with a bad attitude. Eventually, their hapless tour guide manages to sink their boat, and they all start to get hunted down by Victor Crowley, an urban legend of the Louisiana swamp.
In 2006, I suppose this movie was a breath of fresh air among the glut of remakes that were being made back then, as if we’re not still dealing with that now. Now, looking back on this, it just feels and looks VERY cheap. There are shots in this film that are too muddy to see anything, just blobs of blue and black that are supposed to be cemeteries.
Once the killings start, the movie devolves into a Friday the 13th clone. I feel like I could’ve gotten behind this movie if I saw it when it first came out, but now, with a surprising amount of sequels under its belt, Hatchet just seems quaint. It’s almost a time capsule of an awkward moment in filmmaking.
Hatchet looks cheap, because it is. It was a weird time to make a film, and while I appreciate the democratization of filmmaking that made this movie possible, it’s the early stages of a technology that just doesn’t hold up. I haven’t even touched upon how unlikeable our main character is. It feels like everyone that sort of resembled Zach Braff had their day in the mid 2000s, and they all sort of played the emo white dudes with weak chins. As a weak-chinned white dude, I see it, and I don’t like it.
Overall Rating: 5 out of 10