And so Marybeth (Danielle Harris) put a stop to the reign of terror of Victor Crowley (Kane Hodder) by firing a gun right into his face, killing him forever. The end. Except as she was preparing to leave the swamp where he had made his home, he sat up again and began to stalk her, almost killing her until she was able to force him onto a running chainsaw blade which eviscerated him. He really was dead now, and Marybeth walked the long journey back to civilisation in New Orleans where she walked into the nearest police station with Crowley's scalp as a trophy, and also proof she had finally destroyed him. But he had a nasty habit of not taking the hint, and springing back to life...
This was the third instalment in the Hatchet trilogy that promised to be the final entry and the last word in writer and sometime director Adam Green's horror franchise, as he promised he had envisioned this as a trio of parts to run into one another, and that would be that. However, considering this was his explicit homage to the shockers of the eighties, which would have sequels running into double figures in some cases, we should have known that Crowley would be resurrected, and so it was the apparently conclusive ending here was merely the hiatus that would see the bad guy back in a fourth part come 2017. Fairly predictable, then.
There was the feeling of predictability about the entirety of Part III too, but for horror fans of this type of sequel after sequel material, that was an aspect of the appeal when you knew that after watching the villain despatching a couple of dozen victims, even once he was supposedly destroyed in the last ten minutes the odds were that if the studio made enough profit from it, they would be right back within a year or two. Crowley was played by Jason Vorhees actor Kane Hodder, covered in prosthetics for the role, but not far removed from someone like Madman Marz from, er, Madman back in the eighties heyday of the slasher, albeit bearing in mind the form came back in the nineties.
However, once Green conceived and produced the Hatchet series (giving the directorial reins to his cameraman in this instance), slashers had gone off the boil again, leaving stuff like this more or less made for the diehard fans rather than the casual viewer, its insistence on leaving out the CGI for latex and corn syrup gore ensuring it would find an audience. This effort was an improvement on the overly glib Hatchet II, which definitely felt like an afterthought no matter that Green had had a trilogy in mind, but the original remained the superior item in the run. Once more there were genre stars getting substantial roles they would not get in mainstream movies, so along with Harris and Hodder there were the likes of Zach Galligan as the Sheriff, or Caroline Williams as the reporter instigator of the supernatural assault against Crowley that may work out this time.
Sid Haig made a showing too, essentially in an extended cameo where he got to trade mock-racist barbs with Robert Diago DoQui as the black cop escorting Marybeth and Williams as Amanda back to the swamp for a confrontation with Victor, who is laying waste to a troop of heavily armed law enforcement officers. That was kind of a problem, as while there were jokes in this the biggest jape was how invincible its hulking menace was, which meant you were sitting about waiting for him to make with the gore effects rather than watching a cleverly conceived suspense piece where you didn't know who was going to survive. Fair enough, there was a survivor (or two), but you could bet everyone else was dead meat whether you had seen the other instalments or not, and the novelty had worn off in Part II, despite the innovations in the kills (Harris getting knocked out briefly by a flying severed head, for instance). It was unpretentious, it was sincere in its love of eighties horror and its recreation of that, but you'd never mistake it for the real thing. Music by Scott Glasgow.