A search and recovery team heads into the haunted swamp to pick up the pieces and Marybeth learns the secret to ending the voodoo curse that has left Victor Crowley haunting and terrorizing Honey Island Swamp for decades.
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A motley crew of tourists embark on a boat ride of the haunted Louisiana bayous where they learn the terrifying tale of local legend "Victor Crowley"; a horribly disfigured man who was tragically and accidentally killed with a hatchet by the hands of his own father. But when the boat sinks and the ghost story turns out to be real, the group tries desperately to escape the swamp with their lives...and all of their pieces. Written by
I went to see this film in part due to praise heaped on it by previous reviewers who had described it as clever and a fresh addition to the genre.
And it was .. for at least the first ~45 minutes or so.
I was immediately drawn in, the dialogue was notably above par for the genre, full of witty quips and more subtle bits of humor that reference horror classics. In the opening scenes we see notable cameos from Robert Englund ("Nightmare On Elm Street" series) and Tony Todd (of "Candyman" series fame). A respectable flashback sequence is included to introduce the "Hatchet" back story.
And so the movie takes off running, seemingly quite well. Fresh and unique, forging a new path through the wastleland of redundant slasher flicks as "Sean of the Dead" and "Scream" had done in previous years.
Unfortunately about half way through, this movie does a complete about-face. The witty banter is replaced with idiotic dribble more reminiscent of "I Know What You Did Last Summer" than the first half of the film. It's almost as if they fired an adept writer halfway through the script and replaced him with the proverbial thousand monkeys on a thousand typewriters.
At this point the dam breaks, and the tired clichés pour through in droves. We are treated to a prolonged scene of foliage inspection and other such nonsense to fill the reel between death scenes. The characters repeatedly wait to flee screaming in panic until *after* they have disabled or incapacitated the title baddie. The only dread anticipation built in the second half is whether this film will be the schoolbus that was hit by the train, or the one that managed to avoid it.
Once the gore fest begins, it is eerily reminiscent of early "Troma" titles, over the top and fatuous. The "Hatchet" character even seems like it might have been modeled from the "Toxic Avenger". I can appreciate the merits of a lawn sprinkler arterial spray or projectile vomiting, on occasion, but modern film gore effects really have no excuse to still be of that "BrainDead" visual quality.
Despite the dual personalities of this film, I think it still manages to hack out a few good parts.
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