If you go down to the swamp today you're in for a big surprise - a deformed monster who likes nothing better than dismembering unsuspecting tourists with the Hatchet of the title. A gory comedy horror full of rib-tickling cameos for genre enthusiasts, Adam Green's film takes a fan-boy delight in referencing slasher classics from yesteryear. Long before its howling bogeyman has savaged his last victim, however, you'll be wondering if the movie has anything else to offer besides self-conscious homage.
With appearances from Kane Hodder (Jason Voorhees in four Friday the 13th movies), Robert 'Freddy Krueger' Englund and Candyman's Tony Todd, Green clearly hopes his killer - an axe-wielding maniac still smarting from being burned alive in his father's house on the Louisiana bayou - will match up to their iconic alter egos. Alas, the misshapen Victor Crowley is an uninspired creation, whose weapon of choice seems remarkably pedestrian compared to Jason's machete or Freddy's razor-fingered glove. It also takes an age for him to be introduced, Green spending a good half of his slender running time establishing an assortment of irritating heroes, whose gruesome ends can't come soon enough.
"A DECIDEDLY BLUNTED EDGE"
Savvy viewers will chuckle at the Kill Bill-style blood jets and a wannabe porn star who has the Dawson's Creek theme as her mobile ringtone, while the villain's ability to twist off heads and tear them open with his bare hands gives the special effects team lots to work with. For the most part, though, this Hatchet has a decidedly blunted edge.
Hatchet is out in the UK on 5th October 2007.