Review : Victor Crowley (2017)

Victor Crowley came out as a total surprise last year. The film, which marks Adam Green’s return to the franchise he created, was announced shortly before its release. The fourth installment in the Hatchet franchise takes place ten years after the events of the previous films.

Andrew Yong, the sole survivor of the Crowley massacre, is promoting the book he wrote about the event. He is also accused by many of being the actual killer. His agent, played by Felissa Rose, manages to get him a deal he cannot refuse : an interview being held in the swamp and for which he’d be paid a ridiculous amount of money (a million dollars). They arrive (or rather crash) in Victor Crowley’s territory at the same time as an amateur film crew making a documentary on the bayou monster. Of course, Crowley is brought back from the dead to do what he does best : butcher everybody.

I enjoy the first three Hatchet films. The sequels never matched the quality of the first entry but they were well made and entertaining. The same cannot be said about Victor Crowley as this new one is both poorly written and poorly executed.

The characters are all annoying, cringe-worthy and stupid and the actors portraying them give poor performances. Now, characters in slashers are known to make dumb decisions but these characters take it to the next level and their stupidity is hardly believable. The most off-putting aspect is the humor which is both forced and rarely smile-inducing. All jokes fall flat and the delivery of the lines makes the result even more terrible. The comedy in the previous Hatchet films was far better.

The opening scene of the film, while being one of the rare somewhat funny scenes, doesn’t fit with the rest of the film at all. It also makes no sense with the established timeline. Another element which makes no sense is the way they bring back Victor Crowley : an incantation repeated countless times via a youtube video… what a lack of creativity !

Furthermore, the movie takes place in a single location. Now, I love contained horror films but in this instance, it doesn’t work for several reasons : the characters trapped in the crashed plane does not add anything to the storytelling and only provides limitations to both characters and story ; the red lighting is not artistic whatsoever but simply bad and slightly annoying ; it creates long and boring conversations (and with mediocre writing, the result almost put me to sleep) and finally, it is an absolute shameful waste of a great setting : why not use the awesome swamp ?!

Victor Crowley also has another big issue : its pace. I never expected a Hatchet film to be so boring ! And to make matters worse, the gore (which is the main appeal of the Hatchet films) isn’t even very good. The effects are still practical, which is definitely a good thing, but the kills are mostly uninspired.

Though it was great to see Kane Hodder reprise his role as Victor Crowley, the film was overall a disappointment. Hopefully, we’ll see a new and better installment in years to come.