Hatchet screenshot

Hatchet (2006)

four stars

A New Orleans swamp tour encounters the ghost of Victor Crowley, an unstoppable killing machine.


John Carpenter's Halloween established the slasher, a subgenre that exploded in the 1980s. Wes Craven's Scream dissected those films, kick-starting a meta revival in the '90s. With seemingly nowhere left to go, Adam Green's Hatchet puts the pieces back together and takes the subgenre back to basics, establishing the first new slasher icon in a decade: Victor Crowley.

Ben is trying to forget his ex-girlfriend, Marybeth is looking for her missing dad and brother, and Marcus is hoping to see some boobs. They all find what they're looking for and more in a Louisiana swamp where they encounter Victor Crowley, a hatchet-faced ghost who kills brutally and indiscriminately. Members of the tour group are killed in increasingly vicious ways until the last few are forced to make a stand. But how do you stop a relentless murder machine?

Hatchet screenshot

Hatchet is not a groundbreaking film that redefines horror, but it doesn't try to be. Instead, it is a return to what so many love about the genre. The script is one that any studio in the 1980s could have used to turn out a profitable low-budget movie that they could count on to recoup its expenses. Instead, decades after the slasher boom, it's a throwback to an arguably better time for horror.

Director Adam Green is clearly a fan of the Friday the 13th movies, aping the style and tone of the franchise's best entries. Green even went as far as hiring The New Blood director John Carl Buechler for Hatchet's special effects, and fan favorite four-time Jason Voorhees actor Kane Hodder as Victor Crowley. The film is a love letter to the Friday series and slashers in general, also featuring Robert Englund and Tony Todd, known best from their Nightmare on Elm Street and Candyman movies, respectively.

Hatchet is not perfect, but its flaws are negligible. The things that are most important in slashers are all here, from the stomach-churning practical effects to the eyebrow-raising gratuitous nudity. Victor Crowley is a villain that deserves to be mentioned in the same breath as Jason, Michael, and Leatherface, and Hatchet is a film that deserves sequels for years to come.

Hatchet poster Hatchet title screen


  • Adam Green


  • Joel David Moore as Ben
  • Tamara Feldman as Marybeth
  • Deon Richmond as Marcus
  • Mercedes McNab as Misty
  • Joleigh Fioravanti as Jenna
  • Joel Murray as Shapiro
  • Parry Shen as Shawn
  • Richard Riehle as Mr. Permatteo
  • Patrika Darbo as Mrs. Permatteo
  • Kane Hodder as Victor Crowley