You think we need a third one? You think we need a third one.
Final girl Marybeth (still played by Danielle Harris) arrives at the New Orleans police station covered in blood, weapons, and carrying a scalp. While processing the only suspect to her unverified crime, Sheriff Fowler (Zach “Gremlins” Galligan) sends a team out to Honey Island Swamp, discovering all the bodies from the last two Hatchet movies strewn everywhere — including one wearing coveralls and missing most of his head! As a forensics team descends upon the quiet yet bloody crime scene, one familiar-looking lab worker (good news, everyone: it’s Parry Shen again!) realizes that something sinister changed when the sun went down: Victor Crowley (Kane Hodder) has started his loop again.
As evidenced by his picture on the cover and in the disc menus, they’re not exactly trying to hide Victor Crowley anymore; yes, we’re up to the point in the franchise where we’re cheering for the monster as a constant. After doing the hapless tourist thing in Hatchet followed by the fearless hunters bit in Hatchet II, this time the cops are going to experience the local legend in a first-hand encounter, so it’s getting difficult for the local populace to keep denying there’s a real killer loose in the swamp. Will Victor at last meet his maker and be at peace, or will this just be another body count to add to the running total?
Like all slasher franchises have done before, the kills and body count must keep escalating, and Hatchet III pulls no punches. Keeping with the clever call backs of this franchise, not one but two separate attempts to again flashback to the origin story are thwarted; if you don’t know the story by now, you’re probably not watching this one. Seriously: any characters still riddled with doubt gets their confirmation herein at the end of an axe… or worse. With new revelations and what appears to be a final solution for Crowley’s curse, could this really be the final installment in the franchise?
Whereas Kane Hodder took on R.A. Mihailoff for a Jason vs Leatherface death match in the last film, this third installment features Derek Mears as a trigger-happy SWAT leader looking to bite off more than he can chew. Sadly, this classic Jason vs new Jason Friday the 13th showdown falls short of wanted expectations, but Mears’ character was talking a lot of crap, so just desserts and so forth. It’s one thing when foolish tourists are saying you should run, but when armed-to-the-teeth law enforcement is reaching the same conclusion, you’d think more people would take notice of that… or not (insert sinister laugh here).
If this is the last Hatchet film of the franchise, it’s a good place to stop. Then again, cursed monsters always seem to find a way to pop back up again if the right fools do the wrong thing at exactly the right time, so only time, money, and the fandom can say for sure. That said, this one wraps as a present to fans with a bloody little bow.
Hatchet III is rated R for pervasive strong bloody horror violence, language, and friendly fire with a rocket-propelled grenade.
Three skull recommendation out of four
Death Meets the Man Himself: Kane Hodder (TFM 2018)