Borderlands (Zev Berman, 2007): 6.5/10

The Magic Flute (Ingmar Bergman, 1975): 7/10

La Guerre Est Finie (Alain Resnais, 1966): 7/10

Speed Racer (The Wachowski Brothers, 2008): 8/10

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Friday, September 14, 2007

Hatchet (Adam Green, 2006)

Hatchet has one of the most straightforward, effective posters I've seen in a while (well, maybe those great Hostel Part 2 posters are right up there). It is indeed a return to old-school (read: 80s) American horror, when jokes were actually funny and gore was real. When movies weren't afraid to be a bit cheesy and still R-rated. When American horror was great. Director Adam Green harkens back to that time with his film, but at the same time makes it contemporary and way more than an homage.

The movie takes place in (a pre-Katrina, I assume) New Orleans during Mardi Gras, where Ben has been taken by his friends to get over his recent breakup. He thinks all the boobs and beer is boring, so he convinces Marcus to come with him on a haunted bayou tour. From there, nothing goes right. The other passengers include a Girls Gone Wild-type pornographer, a nice Midwestern couple, and a quiet girl who inevitably has some sort of secret. Their boat sinks, and they find themselves at the mercy of Victor Crowley, a local legend that's actually real. Crowley is truly terrifying - a giant, hideously deformed and very angry man. Is he a man or a supernatural being? You're never quite sure. But on to what really matters in the movie: the killings. They're awesome. There's blood all over the place, guts flying from the first scene (with Robert Englund in a great cameo). Crowley's killings are innovative and disgusting, so even though you don't necessarily want to see these people die (they're all actually pretty good, mostly well-developed and likeable), you want to see Victor kill them.

Not only is it gory and suspenseful, it's actually pretty funny, in a comedy way rather than a horror-movie-trying-to-be-funny way. That's refreshing. Ben and Marcus, played respectively by Joel Moore and Deon Richmond, are just a couple of guys you probably went to school with, and deliver their laughs with a definite base in reality. The other characters all have their moments, and none are really neglected until they are killed, which happens in so many horror movies.

Hatchet really represents the emergence of a new horror powerhouse in Adam Green. I saw a preview for Spiral, another Green movie, cowritten with Moore, and I cannot wait to see it as well. Although this movie does have flaws, it's mostly a balls-out return to the good ol days of horror movies. See this movie if it is playing anywhere near you!


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