In his follow-up to the unexpectedly 2006 horror hit Hatchet, writer/director Adam Green spends even more cash and amps up the gore in this unrated and uncut Hatchet 2, an over-the-top gorefest centered around a young woman, Mary Beth (Danielle Harris, replacing the original's Tamara Feldman), who is the lone escapee from Victor Crowley (Kane Hodder), a hideously deformed swamp dweller who goes whupass with a hatchet on a group during a haunted swamp boat tour just outside New Orleans. Hatchet 2 picks up right where the original film left off, and Mary Beth immediately heads back to the French Quarter into the voodoo shop of Reverend Zombie (Tony Todd). Of course, Reverend Zombie jumps on the case, but has a few ulterior motives of his own.
Essentially a higher budget B-movie with enough gore to please the folks who find Let Me In to be just a bit too hoity-toity, Green nearly hits a home run with a perfect blend of outrageously over-the-top gore with ample doses of dark, very dark humor. Green clearly remembers what made his first film a hit, but also seems to have actually improved upon certain aspects of the original by adding just a bit more character development and fewer teases and much more actual terror.
While Tamara Feldman did a nice job in the original film, Danielle Harris is a definite improvement with a performance that simply catches more of Green's irreverent vibe in several of the film's more hardcore scenes that toss in humor. The real joy of Hatchet 2 is watching the character actor Tony Todd have a field day as Reverend Zombie, an obvious con man whose motives are still never quite clear. Todd gets about as close to perfection as one can get in this type of role, intertwining the character's often humorous dialogue with an almost predatory presentation that keeps the viewer on the edge of the seat for much of the film.
Kane Hodder also shines here once again, while Tom Holland also shows up as Mary Beth's Uncle Bob, who may be more connected to the entire scenario than one initially believes.
Production credits are solid throughout the film, a significant improvement upon the 2006 original film and Green clearly enjoys the opportunity to go with a no holds barred approach given the film's lack of an MPAA rating. The film is, however, the equivalent of at least a hard "R" and parents should be strongly discouraged from bringing the kids to this one.
Only the most hardcore of gore fans are likely to be comfy with Hatchet 2, but those who are will likely consider the film to be one of 2010's better offerings for ultra-gore. For this critic's taste, the nod has to go to this weekend's other opening horror flick Let Me In, however, it wouldn't be surprising to see this film stick around in theatres for awhile before having an even stronger life on VOD and home video.