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Hatchet Jack (2008)

Hatchet Jack


Dead Drunk Cinema, Greentown Productions, Stone Street Films and 8th Ward Entertainment present a Sago / Whittle / Mahalick film: Hatchet Jack.  Wow.  Did every person involved with this film feel like they needed to create a "company" just for a screen credit?

Hatchet Jack is is one of those independent films that looks like it was probably a lot of fun to make.  The story is pretty basic: Four teens go to the woods to explore a murder legend and end up finding more than they wanted to find.  However, what makes this film unique is the way that the story is presented.  I have never seen a film edited in quite this manner and I hope I never see another.  It does look like it was a lot of fun to play around with every editing option available to them on whatever editing software they were using: Color to Black and White, bad effects, speed up, freeze frame, double image, visual delay, audio delay, overlapping audio, etc.  They didn't need to use all of those effects, but hey, they were there right?  Might as well use them!

When the picture wasn't spinning around or doing some other artsy trick, the scenery was really amazing.  The opening credits with Hatchet Jack news footage was presented nicely.  Some of the acting wasn't bad.  The characters were relatively well written for a slasher movie.  They did deliver gore in the form of several random artsy shots of girls getting chopped up, but what really blew my mind was that they skipped what I was expecting to be  the climax of the movie.  You're following around these four teens who are searching for Hatchet Jack.  The tension builds as night falls on the creepy woods.  The teens fall asleep by the creepy light of the creepy campfire.  Something lurks nearby...watching...creepily.  Stop.  Cut to some point in the future with a couple of the teens dead and one teen almost dead in a cabin that they saw earlier in the movie.  What the hell?  Sure, they did give us some good gore by showing the aftermath, but what happened to the chase, the capture, the torture?   

The cut that I saw of this movie was about 45 minutes long.  From what I've read, there was another cut that was about 90 minutes.  Maybe the 45 minutes that were removed were the 45 minutes of chase, capture and torture.  Then again, maybe it was just 45 minutes more of annoying editing effects while the four teens wandered around in the woods.  

I've read several reviews of Hatchet Jack that commend the filmmakers on their fresh approach to a tired story.  Most of them seemed to like the weird editing effects, so I may be in the minority when it comes to my opinion there.  However, most of the reviews that I read also pointed out the lack of climax, so I don't feel totally alone on that one.  Either way, no matter what anyone says about the movie, it looks like it was fun to make and when it comes down to it, maybe that was the whole point for these guys.

Gore-o-meter rating: 3 out of 5
(There was some gore, but there could have been a lot more)

Skin-o-meter: 0 out of 5 (no nudity)