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BACK TO THE SWAMP: A Review of Adam Green’s “Victor Crowley”

The year is 2006. The horror genre is being beaten down with nothing but uninspired sequels, prequels, and remakes. The original slasher film has all but died. Something seems to be missing from the genre. Where’s the fun? In comes a young, up and coming director Adam Green 6 years removed from his last film, “Coffee and Donuts”. He recruits the man who many consider the greatest Jason Voorhees of all time, Kane Hodder, and revitalizes a genre many thought they would never see again.

“Hatchet” hits the festival circuit in 2006 with an eventual DVD release on December 18th, 2007. While it received mixed to low reviews by critics, fans all over the world raved. Finally, a return to form for the horror genre. “Hatchet”, an old school American horror, received massive success from fans and gained a cult following that follows the franchise today. By 2013, Green had worked on two sequels and was ready to give up the character of Victor Crowley to focus on other works. He drops a bombshell with the incredible, “Digging Up the Marrow”. A film that, like “Hatchet” before it, wore its influences on its sleeve. From here Green notes that he’s finished with the series from a film standpoint but you’ll be able to keep up with “Crowley” in comic book form; the “Hatchet” series was dead…or so we thought.

August 22nd, 2017, the original film’s “10 Year Anniversary” show. Hundreds of “Hatchet” fans and stars pile into Hollywood’s Arclight Cinema, expecting to see a presentation of the film that started it all. Instead, fans were elated to see that not only was a fourth film already made, but they were about to see it in all its glory. Needless to say, the hype was real and fans left the theatre ecstatic to see the lovable crazy redneck humanoid back in action. As “Victor Crowley” unleashes on all of us in VOD and Blu-ray, did it meet expectations or should we ship it back to the swamp to rot? Find out as we cover the return of the millennium’s icon of horror, “Victor Crowley”.

Keeping with one of my favorite tropes about any “Hatchet” film, Parry Shen is back! However, for the first time in the franchise, he’s reprising his role as the sole survivor/paramedic from the third film, Andrew. It’s been 10 years since that fateful night on the swamp. Andrew has become a writer and is making his rounds on the press circuit sharing his story. Things aren’t going so well for the survivor as we open on him being interviewed on live TV by his ex-wife Sabrina (Krystal Joy Brown). No one back home believes his story, in fact, they’re under the impression that Andrew is the maniac who axed all of those people years ago. Things take a turn for the worst when his publicist, played by the “Sleepaway Camp” star Felissa Rose, convinces him to return to the swamp for a large sum of money. It isn’t until he gets on the plane that he realizes it’s to film a show for Sabrina. The three, along with a film crew (including “Impractical Jokers” star Brian Quinn) are off for a romp in the swamp. Meanwhile, across the water, a few “Crowley fans” (Laura Ortiz, Katie Booth, Chase Williamson) are trying to make a film of their own. Of course all hell breaks loose as our killer decides to join in on the fun of both parties. What follows is a return to form for writer/director Adam Green: film filled with gore galore and big laughs.

Along with the cast members I’ve already mentioned, the highlight of the film would without a doubt be Dave Sheridan. This man is hilarious in every film he’s in and doesn’t get enough credit. He plays the boat driver/aspiring actor, Dillon, and he steals every scene he’s in. As you watch the film you can truly feel how much fun this cast and crew was having while filming. Definitely my favorite group of death puppets in a “Hatchet” film. The man of the hour, Kane Hodder, is better than ever. This is the greatest Crowley has looked since the film’s original inception, that credit goes to both Hodder and the make-up department. Nightmare fuel.

I thoroughly enjoyed this film and I’m glad to have Victor Crowley back in my life. Green understands his franchise and doesn’t try to reinvent the wheel in any shape. That’s not a knock, on the contrary, it’s commendable for the man to return and give the fans a film they’ve been clamoring for for years. I’ll be honest, if you’re not a fan of the “Hatchet” series this movie is not going to change your mind. It’s a tour de force of crude jokes and gut wrenching violence. Understand what you’re getting and you’ll have a blast. I recommend “Victor Crowley” to any film of the franchise, and anyone who needs their slasher fix. Here’s to hoping a “Digging up the Marrow” sequel is next!

“Victor Crowley” hit DVD and Blu-ray on February 6th via Dark Sky FIlms.