Home Of Pure Retro Movie Love.

Monday, October 18, 2010

New Movie Show Review: Hatchet II & I Spit On Your Grave (2010)

An Unrated Horror double feature!

Hatchet II
Directed by Adam Green
Original Theatrical Release Date: October 1st, 2010

I enjoyed Adam Green's first Hatchet film. It came at a time when horror was finding a new resurgence, and it's promotional material promised a return to "Old School American Horror"... That film wasn't so much a return to being "Old School" as much as it was just relishing in it's love for those films of genre. You simply can't be "Old School" by constantly paying tribute to "Old School". Regardless, the movie worked because it was gruesome yet fun. The characters were interesting enough to follow them on their journey into the swamps of Louisiana, and you kind of cared who might survive the night.

Hatchet II picks up exactly where Hatchet I left off, but this time replacing that final girl with someone a bit more "Old School"...Danielle Harris (Halloween 4 & 5, Don't Tell Mom The Babysitter's Dead, Rob Zombie's Halloweens) Much more so than the first film, the sequel really does want to conjure up those memories of watching some of those films of past. This might as well as be the bastard son of a later Friday The 13th or Leatherface. Not that this movie is as fun as some of those...

Scream Queen Danielle Harris washing away all the gooey goo-ness of Hatchet II. 
How you doing?

While 'ole Hatchet Part Deux is unafraid to give you buckets of blood and gore--This film is wall to wall squishy effects-- that's about all you get. Legions of fans have been grumbling over the last 10 years or so about all the shitty CGI effects we've been getting, myself one of them, and this picture is set to dazzle you with all the cool makeup effects we've been missing all these years. But it seems it's been in lieu of any real sense of fun.

This picture is just too over-the-top to be actually enjoyable. Tony Todd, naturally one creepy mutha, is ridiculous here. I guess they never yelled cut and allowed Mr. Candyman to make weird gestures and come off like he's making absolutely no sense. Perhaps they should have kept his role minimal like in the first film, instead of widening it to starring role? And as for the rest of the characters... Were there any? This film has quite a few people in it, yet everyone kind of seemed the same. Sometimes you can tell them apart from the lame dialog or jokes, most of the time the film was too preoccupied in it's gooeyness to care. Adam Green has an eye for settings and horror sequences, but he really needs to bone up on his scriptwriting (This year's Frozen also lacked interesting characters and dialog) Still... Danielle Harris. She's looking at you whilst in the shower. How you doing?

Definitely a let-down considering the fun of the first film, Hatchet II has it's place in the horror world and will eventually find it's home late at night when either you're too drunk or stoned to honestly care. Just pass the grue please, thank you.

I Spit On Your Grave
Directed by Steven R. Monroe
Original Theatrical Release Date: October 8th, 2010

The original I Spit On Your Grave from 1978 was one of my Grandmother's favorite films. I kid you not. We'd watch it countless times, to the point where I once entertained the notion of just throwing it away and pretending to know nothing about it. Over the years I've warmed back up to it. Even though it's a movie that is never subtle or particularly pleasing to watch, it's a genuine 70's Grindhouse movie that packs it's punch and doesn't apologize. The kind of movie that they really don't make in the mainstream anymore.

And yet cut to 32 years later and we now have the remake. And it's bummer. I went to see this in a positively empty theater in the East Village. I was excited as it was nice and quiet, a really big screen and good sound system. By the end of the movie I just kind of wanted to get out there.

It's not a completely terrible movie mind you, but it didn't do much for me at all. I was with the movie up through the rape stuff, and then the movie makes the egregious era of shifting points of view to the country bumpkins. These guys were not at all interesting and the actors playing them pretty much added nothing new other than being stock bad dudes. Unless of course you really think the chubby gay kid from Mean Girls is scary. I preferred The villains from The Last House On The Left redo, and I didn't even much like that movie.

The classic tub scene of the original retrofitted in I Spit On Your Grave.  
More torture, less penis cuttage.

Sure enough the biggest problem of the movie is it's direction. It's all hand-held nonsense with absolutely no sense of framing or real style (unless you count endless points of view from someone's video camera, style) The movie veers closely to Rob Zombie territory with it's head planted firmly up it's hillbilly ass, but I'd even give Zombie points for at least trying to incorporate some style into his movies. For a remake of a movie that was criticized for being crude, flat and without any real merits, they sure picked the wrong people to bring something to the table.

And then there's the revenge... We've seen it all before with the Hostel movies (especially part 2), The Saws and other recent lackluster stuff. It doesn't pack the wallop it should... When someone else does get their wang cut off, it just isn't the same. This really should have been a movie where you wanted to cheer when she finally gets revenge. That's what i was kind of expecting. She doesn't even say the line in the trailer "Forgive me father, for I will sin" What a gip.

I'm going to re-watching the original soon with my grandmother looking down on me from heaven (or up from hell, take your pick) I remember the DVD's commentary (by drive-in movie GOD Joe Bob Briggs) being utterly hysterical. It's the kind of pick me up I need after some bummer new movie shows.

Okay, he's pretty scary.

1 comment:

Planet of Terror said...

I really have no desire to see Hatchet 2. I can appreciate what the original was trying to do, but it did absolutely nothing for me. There are countless slasher films that are far more entertaining and original. I'll stick to Green's original fare (Frozen was amazing) over this rehash anyday.

As for ISOYG, I've heard its a mixed bag. You either love it or hate it. Been meaning to check this out at the local indie theater in Dallas but haven't had the time.

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