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Hatchet: The must-see horror movie of 2007

You never know what you’re rallying behind when news of a film first drags itself from the never ending pit of production announcements guys like me listen for with Harry Caul-like ardor. Sometimes your intuition is dead-on. A film you’ve thoroughly covered via news updates, interviews and whatever else the Hollywood publicity machine bends over backwards to offer is actually, well, pretty darn good. There would be no balance in the universe without a few bad apples, so yes, you often find yourself pimping bad films, too. That’s why I try to be as objective as possible from the outset when we report on a new genre offering until more details come to light, then I decide whether something is worth covering in-depth. You know, it’s that editorial power I humbly sling around.

Hatchet was one of those rare occurrences where it just felt so right to instinctively stand by it from minute one.

This little indie production leapt onto my radar two outlets ago. Before Fangoria. I’m not sure how the flick came to my attention; I believe it was when I discovered the website for Ariescope Productions. They were boasting this new film they had cookin’ with Kane Hodder, Robert Englund and Tony Todd. A Jason, Freddy, Candyman three-way balled up into some slasher throwback written and directed by this guy from fellow New England resident named Adam Green. Of course, as I soon came to find out, Hatchet was much more than that.

The promised genre cameos is only a fraction of the kick. The film is a time capsule. Busted open by the voracious appetite of a filmmaker who suckled from the delicious ’80s output of tits, gore, Friday the 13th, practical FX, USA’s Up All Night and raunchy comedies. Green’s slasher film feels like something seemingly placed in suspended animation twenty years ago; reawakened to inspire and remind a new generation that horror can be still be grim, super-violent, unpredictable and…what’s this? Painfully fun? Hell yes!

The reason you’re not getting a full review from me is because I’ve become best friends with the Green. Hell, we’re both part of a wider group of industry horror fanatics we call “Fright Club,” a troupe that attempts to gather together weekly for drinks ‘n movies. I love his film and I figure the best way to lend my continued support for Hatchet, without looking like I took a paycheck to do it, is through a Rotten Truth where I can clear the air with the full disclosure and honestly say I have never seen a more auspicious debut from a budding filmmaker since Raimi knocked us in the skulls with The Evil Dead.

Back in ’85 or ’86, Hatchet would have been the sort of taboo my parents forbade me to see. The fuel for school cafeteria talk over a carton of chocolate milk and a slice of soggy pizza as we discussed the most righteous kill and the girl in the film we’d “go all the way” with (shit, I’ll say it now, Joleigh Fioreavanti, hands-down). A sure-bet discreet rental viewed on a late night at a friend’s house during a sleepover because there was either a.) an older brother who did the renting for us or b.) the parents of said friend didn’t give a shit. There’s a big smile that etches across my face when I think about Hatchet having that same effect on 12-year-olds today.

But you know what? The 12-year-olds today get it better than we did in the ’80s. Because not only are they getting a slasher flick with generous gallons of blood and a new boogeyman – jittery, hatchet-wielding Southern killer cracker called Victor Crowley who kills naked broads and adults indiscriminately – but, by God, they get a film with plausible, even if somewhat stereotyped, characters that you actually don’t want to see die. Well, maybe you want to see few do. Still, that’s a far cry from the personality-thin dopes populating much of the “Nightmare” or “Friday” franchises. You see, Green learned from the mistakes of the past and filtered his unparalleled love for the genre through that manic brain of his for a palatable punk rock splatter cult classic in the making.

Take all that for what it’s worth. But from one horror fan to another, see this film. In the theater if you can. Support a filmmaker who’s truly one of us. And support a friend who, I have seen, face a fair share of battles to get his movie out there for you to experience.

For the sake of convenience, here is a list of theaters presenting Hatchet when it opens this Friday. See ya at the Arclight…

Austin

Alamo Drafthouse South Lamar

AMC Barton Creek 14

Baltimore

Muvico Egyptian 24

AMC White Marsh 16

AMC Owings Mills 17

Boston

AMC Boston Commons 19

National Amusements Showcase Revere 20

CFC Entertainment Cinemas Fresh Pond 10

Chicago

AMC Crestwood 18

AMC River East 21

AMC Ford City 14

AMC Barrington 30

AMC Streets of Woodfield 20

AMC Cantara 30

AMC Country Club 16

Marcus Gurnee 20

Marcus Addison 20

Detroit

AMC Fairlane 21

AMC Southfield 24

AMC Great Lakes 25

AMC Forum 30 with IMAX

Detroit DMA

MJR Southgate 24

MJR Marketplace Cinema 20

MJR Ford Wyoming Drive In Complex

El Paso

Carmike El Paso 16

Harlingen/Brownsville

Harlingen/Brownsville DMA

Cinemark 16 Harlingen,TX

Cinemark Tinseltown Mission TX

Cinemark 16 BrownsvilleTX

Cinemark Hollywood McAllen TXCarmike

20 EdinburgTX

Houston

AMC Gulf Pointe 30

AMC Studio Houston 30

AMC Deerbrook 24

AMC Willowbrook 24

Las Vegas

Brenden Palms Casino

Los Angeles

Arclight Theaters

Memphis

Malco Majestic 20

Memphis DMA

Malco Paridiso Cinema

Malco Desoto 16 Southaven

Brand Hollywood 20

Malco Towne 16

Muvico Peabody

New Orleans

AMC Palace 20

AMC Palace 16

New York

AMC Empire 25

Norfolk/Newport News

AMC Lynnhaven 18

AMC Hampton Towne Center 24

Phoenix

AMC Mesa Grande 24

AMC Deer Valley 30

AMC Westgate 20

AMC Ahwatukee 24

Harkin Arizona Mills 24

Harkins Gateway Pavilion

Harkins Superstition Luxary 25

Providence

National Amusements Providence Place 16

National Amusements Showcase Warwick Mall

National Amusements Showcase Seekonk

CFC Cinema World Lincoln Mall 16

Sacramento / Stockton / Modesto

Brenden Modesto 18

San Antonio

AMC Hueber Oaks 24

Santikos Palladium 18 and IMAX

Santikos Mayan Palace

Santikos Silverado 16

San Diego

AMC Palm Promenade 24

AMC Mission Valley 20

Source: Ryan Rotten