BJ McDonnell’s ‘Hatchet III’ (2013) Turns 10: Some Legends Never Die – Retro Review

Some ideas just work. Especially when you have Kane Hodder onboard. Ten years after the release of Director BJ McDonnell’s Hatchet III, the film is still a gift to horror fans with a successful formula of thrills, gore, and comedy.

“I should have gone on the swamp tour.” – Drunken Prisoner

Let’s take in the poster art

Hatchet Ill is a 2013 American slasher film written by Adam Green (Frozen-2010) and directed by B. J. McDonnell (Studio 666 – 2022). Kane Hodder (Friday the 13th VII-1988) portrays the main antagonist Victor Crowley for the third time in a row, and Danielle Harris ( Halloween – 2007)

Hatchet III Synopsis 

Marybeth joins forces with a policeman and his ex-wife to put an end to the murderous rampage of ax-wielding maniac, Victor Crowley.

The Setup

This film concludes the saga that began in Adam Green’s hit 2006 thriller, Hatchet. Victor Crowley is a hulking, seemingly-invincible sociopath rampaging through a sleepy Louisiana swamp. Released on June 14, 2013, Hatchet III wastes no time by picking up immediately where the previous entry ended after Marybeth (Danielle Harris) had blown Victor’s (Kane Hodder) head off. The monster quickly regenerates, naturally and Marybeth kills him yet again by cutting him in half on Victor’s own giant chainsaw, stopping only to snatch a piece of his scalp before leaving the bayou. From here, she turns herself in to the police ranting about how she killed swamp psycho Victor Crowley.

The sheriff’s (Zach Galligan) journalist ex-wife, Amanda (Caroline Williams), learns of Marybeth’s run-in with Victor. She seeks vindication for her beliefs in the local legend by probing Marybeth for information. While the two ladies discuss matters, the police have sent a large task force to investigate the many deaths and bodies saturating the bayou in Victor’s bloody wake.

The Payoff

Hatchet III is an utterly enjoyable and over-the-top entry in the series that makes for a fun slasher ride. What really works for this one is the sheer, utter ruthlessness on display throughout the film, which ranges from the opening attack to the closing credits. There’s hardly anything in here that goes for subtlety as the film gleefully doles out an extremely entertaining time.

Fans revel in the return here of the totally brutal and graphic kills that were part of the first Hatchet. The third installment manages to top the original in several instances. The savagery of kills on display are not just for the spectacle, but also for the creativity of featuring them all in one film.

That alone would’ve made Hatchet III incredibly enjoyable, even before the exploits of what really makes this one work… the outstanding action scenes are simply overflowing throughout the film, which keeps Hatchet III genuine to itself without taking itself too seriously.

Hatchet III Final Thoughts

I’II am the first to admit that I am not the biggest Hatchet fan in the world, but I can appreciate that the franchise has a sense of fun and an old-school slasher feel about it. Although I can’t help but wonder while watching any Hatchet film…Who would win in a fight, Victor Crowley or Art the Clown?” Squirrel!

But I digress. Overall, for fans of the series, Hatchet III is worth a watch. It may just be a background movie that won’t be making anyone’s top 10 lists, but it is a fun viewing experience. I’ll probably go through all the installments again, which are currently all on Tubi. Check out the trailer below!

About Sean Stewart

Father. Artist. Writer. Horror Fanboy.

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