• A Review Page For Those Movies You Watch At Home!

    Couch Potato Movie Reviews is, obviously, a blog that exclusively reviews movies. What makes this blog different is the fact that all of the films we are reviewing are all movies that are available on home movie rental companies such as Redbox, Netflix, Blockbuster, and your quickly disappearing neighborhood rental store. This blog is designed to take a more detailed look at those movies that either were sent straight to DVD, received a very limited release in the theaters, or were distributed through the art house or film festival circuit. We will also review those big Hollywood films, but only after they are available for home viewing.

    All the reviews are written by fans of the great art of film making rather than some newspaper reviewer or stuffy film student. We don’t know everything about film but we do know what we like, and we are more than happy to share our opinions with you. What you do with those opinions are totally up to you, although comments are welcome and encouraged.

    Each film review has a one to five star rating at the end of the critique. Here is what those star ratings mean for you couch potatoes:

    * * * * * : Five stars: go and buy this one, don’t just rent it!

    * * * * : Four stars: put this at the top of your rental list.

    * * * : Three stars: average, not bad just not great either.

    * * : Two stars: only rent if you have to see everything.

    * : One star: don’t waste your time with this.

Hatchet

TITLE: Hatchet

YEAR: 2006

GENRE: Horror

For years the Hollywood machine has been attempting to recapture the magic and financial success of the 1980’s horror movie scene. The truth of the matter is that Hollywood never had that magic to being with, as many of the most memorable fright fests of the Reagan administration arrived from the independent film scene. The original Halloween and Friday The 13th were both financed outside of the Hollywood machine, and the original The Texas Chain Saw Massacre was bank rolled by the mafia! Periodically the independent film scene pumps out a horror film that has some merit and can be ranked among the better 1980’s slasher films. Although Hatchet will not be ranked with the classic films, it is a much better than average production that offers up some quality laughs as well as scares and a generous amount of bloodshed.

Ben (played by Joel David Moore) travels down to Mardi Gras with his friend Marcus (Deon Richmond) to forget about his recent break-up with his girlfriend since junior high. Booze and babes surround him, but all Ben wants to do is go on a haunted swamp tour. The twosome find huckster Shawn (Perry Shen), who runs a nightly tour, and they travel on the Louisiana bayou with a small group of tourists. On the tour Shawn tells the swamp legend of Victor Crowley, a deformed man whose ghost supposedly roams the swamp looking for his father. An accident happens and the boat they are travelling on sinks in the swamp, the group discovers that the legend of Victor Crowley (Kane Hodder) is true and the group happened to crash next to the house Victor shared with his possessive father. As the group is mercilessly killed off by the ghost one by one, the group discovers that one of their own, Marybeth (Tamara Feldman), has her own ulterior motive: to find her father whom she believes that Victor killed, and she wants to kill off the malevolent spirit once and for all.

Hatchet is not a very intelligent film, but then again a slasher flick is not designed for the cerebral crowd so what it does is presented very well. First of all, the cast is a bit unique for a slasher film because not every character is a party-crazed college student: included for the ride is Misty (Mercedes McNab) and Jenna (Joleigh Fioreavanti), two aspiring porno stars who severely dislike each other; Shapiro (Joel Murphy), an executive who has duped Misty and Jenna that he is an adult film director; and Jim (Richard Riehle) and Shannon Permatteo (Patrika Darbo), a middle-aged couple from Minnesota. This group of characters ends up working well together as their conflicting lifestyles and lack of knowledge of each other creates some quality yuks, especially the vapid insults delivered by Misty to the much smarter Jenna. Hodder (Jason Voorhees in four of the Friday The 13th films) is excellent as the angry and violent Victor and delivers some excellent kills especially when he literally rips Shannon’s skull in half. Hatchet also delivers some good cameos that old school horror fans will enjoy: Robert Englund (Freddy Kruger in the original A Nightmare On Elm Street) plays Marybeth’s father and is the first to suffer under Victor’s hand; Tony Todd (Candyman, Final Destination) plays Dr. Zombie, another over the top huckster; and John Carl Buechler (director of Troll, Friday The 13th Part VII: The New Blood) plays an alligator hunter who warns the tourists before they sail away to meet their destiny. Director Adam Green (Frozen) does a great job delivering a film with breakneck pace and some quality scares as Victor appears at unsuspected times and generates a few jolts to the crowd.

Hatchet II was released in 2010 and Hatchet III is planned for a 2012 release, so like the great 80’s horror films it looks like this one will also have a wave of sequels. Hatchet does a great job in getting so many elements of a good horror film correct: a scary and frightening looking antagonist, a bunch of hapless victims, some suspense, and quality kills. Most of all, Hatchet is a lot of fun to watch and that is one of the best compliments one can give a horror film.

* * * *

–Mark

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