2018 | unrated (hard R equivalent) | starring Laura Ortiz, Kane Hooder, Parry Shen | written & directed by Adam Green | 1 hr 23 mins |

Halloween Horrorfest #13

We’ve had a lot of horror movies this year that were just blah, that never got off the launch pad to justify their existence. Victor Crowley, on the other hand, is good old-fashioned dime-store garbage. I almost have to admire writer/director Adam Green’s persistence in trying to make his vicious hulking swamp monster – and star of 3 Hatchet films – Victor Crowley a “thing”. Pushing past public apathy and financing limitations to give a small group of gore-hounds desperate for a new millennial Jason Voorhees their decapitating fix. I mean, Don Mancini has been keeping the Chucky franchise around by changing settings and adding new and increasingly wacky layers to the mythology with each movie while Green is just rehashing the same old thing, but hey.

I’m far from averse to this level of violence, having recently given positive marks to this year’s nasty, rage-filled killer clown movie Terrifier. That movie took it’s visibly small single-location budget and found a way to play a sick game of cat and mouse with it. As we know from 3 movies now, Crowley lacks that skill or desire to generate any tension, but it also takes forever and a day to get to the kills, nearly 45 minutes of an 83 minute film. While an actual Friday the 13th movie would fill that time with randy, dumb teenagers in various stages of undress, Green doesn’t even give us the T & A, instead filling the movie with labored observational comedy from a file marked Stuff that Annoys Adam Green.

The story, which the movie seems to think is very important before ditching it entirely at the halfway mark, involves 3 true crime junkies lead by Rose (Laura Ortiz) who wants to make a movie about the Victor Crowley killings and head to the real Honey Island Swamp, now a tacky tourist destination for true crime fans, to cut a demo trailer. Part of their plan involves getting original Hatchet survivor Andrew Yong (Parry Shen, wasn’t he the cruise captain?) to be in the film while he’s criss-crossing the country doing talk shows and signings on his book tour. Why do so many people on the book tour think that this little guy is the actual murderer and ripped a ton of people apart with his bare hands? Why does Rose think getting an actual survivor to be in her movie be a “get” that helps it get financing? Only Green knows.

Both of these very verbose stories converge in the swamp, with the prospective film crew playing a Youtube video that recites the incantation that brings Crowley back to life Jason Voorhees-style and Yong’s private jet full of nitwits crashing in the swamp. There is nothing cinematic here, given the right makeup effects, the rest of the movie could play out on a theater stage. Green starts killing off major characters in a way that is supposed to shock us but all that does is leave us with his least developed and most obnoxious supporting characters. Heads, arms and legs are ripped off; heads are stomped, hacked and hammered in; eyes are gouged out and phones are shoved up body cavities. Oh, and one person drowns quietly.

Of all of these movies, Hatchet 3 was probably the one I most enjoyed. It’s first act plays like a real movie, it has new scream queen Danielle Harris as the lead and it isn’t directed by Adam Green. That’s why it’s so strange that Green’s return to the series here feels like self parody. A low budget movie filmed in the Louisiana swamp about a low budget movie filmed in the Louisiana swamp. Crowley himself even seems less vicious than in previous films. He pops his face through doors and windows using that alone to get a scare like a dad in a Halloween mask and, in the film’s thrilling climax, he just stands around in front of a jet engine waiting for someone to push him in. No rage, no nihilism, just jokes. That’s what you wanted, right? Hatchet with 40% more jokes! The slasher movie fans deserve better.

Victor Crowley was released unrated, and I wonder if that’s another Hatchet 2 gimmick to make the movie look like it would have gotten slapped with a super-hardcore NC-17. It might have, but the arterial spray looks almost comical and the penises are flaccid, so who knows.