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A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this movie.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that this gory, low-budget monster/slasher spoof is drenched in blood, including fake-looking but explicit dismemberments and beheadings. The first violent scene is typically sketchy (though it leaves bloody corpses), but later scenes are incessant, with blood spewing, lots of screaming, and limbs and heads flying. Weapons include a gun and sharp implements (chainsaw, hatchet), as well as gasoline and a lighter. There are frequent breast shots (part of a repeated joke about girls baring their chests for a "girls gone wild"-style video) and descriptions of adolescent male sex fantasies, with crude language. Swearing includes "s--t," "b--ch," and a select few "f--ks."
- Parents say
- Kids say
What's the story?
In Adam Green's low-budget slasher spoof, buddies Ben (Joel David Moore) and Marcus (Deon Richmond) are visiting New Orleans for Mardi Gras. Because Ben is despondent over a recent breakup, good buddy Marcus accompanies him on a scary boat ride. They're quickly entranced by fellow boat riders Jenna (Joleigh Fioreavanti) and Misty (Mercedes McNab). The ride leads the foursome -- along with several other victims-to-be -- into the bayou, where they're soon beset by a deformed, unkillable monster. He turns out to be Victor Crowley (Kane Hodder, who's usually hidden under other makeup, such as in the sequels to Friday the 13th); tormented as a child, Victor now seeks vengeance on everyone who happens into his swamp. Ho hum. As Ben and Marcus do their best to keep each other alive through Victor's barrage of attacks, they're aided by Marybeth (Tamara Feldman), whose father and brother were offed at the beginning of the movie and who is now a walking repository of all monster lore.
Is it any good?
Over the top and awkwardly paced, Hatchet isn't very clever for a spoof; it explains or repeats too many plot points. Most of the jokes come in the casting (they're all good sports, these aging slasher-movie stars). But the slasher films were already spoofy, with Freddy Krueger's one-liners and Jason Voorhees' implacable plodding and chopping. And that makes this movie's comedy feel old.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about what draws people to this kind of movie. Why do people enjoy scary and/or gory movies? Does this fall into the "torture porn" subgenre? Why or why not? Does the quality of the production affect how scary (or not) a horror movie is? Families can also discuss whether this movie is innovative or conventional -- how is it similar to and different from other horror movies? Are you looking for creativity in a horror movie, or just blood and guts? Why or why not?
- In theaters: September 7, 2007
- On DVD or streaming: December 18, 2007
- Cast: Deon Richmond, Joel Moore, Tamara Feldman
- Director: Adam Green
- Studio: Anchor Bay Entertainment
- Genre: Horror
- Run time: 93 minutes
- MPAA rating: R
- MPAA explanation: strong bloody horror violence, sexual content, nudity and language.