Victor Crowley Blu-ray Review
Written by R.J. MacReady
Blu-ray released by Dark Sky Films
Written and directed by Adam Green
2017, 83 Minutes, Not Rated
Blu-ray released on February 6th, 2018
Parry Shen as Andrew
Kane Hodder as Victor Crowley
Laura Ortiz as Rose
Dave Sheridan as Dillon
Joy Brown as Sabrina
Brian Quinn as Austin
Felissa Rose as Kathleen
Chase Williamson as Alex
Katie Booth as Chloe
Tiffany Shepis as Casey
Back in 2006, a movie came down the pike with such glowing reviews that surely it was the second coming of John Carpenter's Halloween. The poster claimed it was a "New and unexpected benchmark in horror". The movie featured "the next icon of horror", according to the now-infamous Harry Knowles. The buzz on the movie was HUGE, so expectations were high.
Then I saw the movie, Hatchet, and was like..."That's it?"
Years later, I had a chance to revisit it sans hype, and it's definitely a fun throwback horror flick. The sequels have been hit or miss – and to be honest I'm a much bigger fan of director Adam Green's other non-Hatchet films, like the underrated Frozen and Spiral. This all begs the question...how's the fourth film in the trilogy. Er, quadrology? Whatever.
For those who don't know, Adam Green pulled a bit of a J.J. Abrams here. At what was supposed to be a special showing of the first film for some mega fans, Green surprised them all by telling them that they had shot a new Hatchet film, Victor Crowley, without telling anybody, and THAT'S what the fans were going to see. (You can see video of this screening in the Fly on the Wall special feature.) Featuring a host of genre actors like Felissa Rose (Sleepaway Camp), Tiffany Shepis (way too many films to name), Dave Sheridan(Evil Bong, Scary Movie), Kane Hodder (he plays the title character, but most people know him as Jason from Friday the 13th), Laura Ortiz (The Hills Have Eyes and Holliston) and more, the film went over well at the special screening.
Victor Crowley – aka Hatchet 4 – begins with a wannabe-filmmaker who's obsessed with the Hatchet mythos, and intends to make a film about it. She takes two friends to interview the only survivor of the Hatchet attacks, Andrew (played by Parry Shen), who's now a minor celebrity that everyone actually believes did all the killing. No one believes Victor Crowley is real.
Andrew is suddenly offered a million dollars by a "wannabe-Oprah" to travel back to the swamps for a TV special, so he gets on a puddle-jumper plane with their crew, and they head out. Meanwhile, the filmmmaker and her friends have gotten to the swamp already, and meet eccentric tour guide Dave Sheridan. Shit gets real real when the plane crashes into the swamp near the filmmakers and tour guide.
Victor Crowley attacks, and if you've seen the other movies then you know it's gonna get real bloody.
The tack I try to take when I'm judging a movie, and trying to pass on whether that movie is going to be enjoyable for my readers – Love ya both! – is to get you in the right mindspace to have the best chance at a positive experience. If you like your horror films to be of the serious sort, then you're not going to enjoy this movie.
If you like a heaping dash of comedy with your horror, then by all means grab six or seven beers and some of your friends and you might have 77 minutes of fun. (The actual running time of the film.) Victor Crowley is at all times goofy and bloody, and not at all scary. The special effects at times are subpar – in particular the first two kills – but then other kills look great. With a few extra beers in you and like-minded friends around you, you probably won't even notice.
The acting is decent all around, with Tiffany Shepis always a stand out in talent. Laura Ortiz plays pretty much the same character she played in Green's show, Holliston, but she's so easy on the eyes that I'm not sure it matters. Felissa Rose is also great as Andrew's agent, who books him on the worst flight of his life. Also of note is Brian Quinn, who's on the show Impractical Jokers, and surprised me by not being terrible, as many of these reality-show people who move into acting usually are.
The bottom line is that if you liked the other Hatchet movies, you're going to like this one, and vice versa. If you haven't seen the other films in the series, why would you start with this one? Go back to the beginning.
Video and Audio:
Presented in 2.39:1 anamorphic widescreen. Cinematographer Jan-Michael Losada does a decent job on what looks to be a very low-budget, at times over-lighting the swamp (how big is that moon?), but it's not too distracting.
The audio is Dolby Digital 5.1 and sounds fine. You definitely get heaping doses of squishes and bone crunches, as well as Crowley's lion growl in full Dolby power.
Fly on the Wall is a behind-the-scenes making-of, and this is where the indie guys really kill it over studio pictures. You know how much footage from the actual movie is in this making of? ZERO. That's how it should be. There's nothing worse than watching a movie, then turning on the 10-minute making of to discover 70% of it is clips from the movie you just watched. The Fly on the Wall is tons of BtS footage strung together into a 68-minute feature. It really feels like being on the set watching them shoot the movie.
Raising the Dead...Again features an interview with Adam Green talking about memories and some of the reasons they embarked on Victor Crowley. It's not much you don't know if you watched the Fly on the Wall, but if you're an Adam Green fan then you'll find it interesting.
Up next is a cast commentary with Green, actors Parry Shen, Laura Ortiz, and Dave Sheridan. This is a pretty decent anecdote-filled commentary that's mostly taken up by Sheridan and Green, with Shen and Ortiz piping up on occasion.
Also offered is technical commentary with Green, cinematographer Losada, editor Matt Latham, and make-up effects artist Robert Pendergraft. The other commentary is more fun, and there's a lot of repeated info from Green (but they did this one first). The editor is probably the worst part of this commentary – he doesn't add a lot, and keeps talking about secret things he did to make a cut work without actually telling you what he did. It would be like the director saying, "I did some great things here to make this scene work, but I'm not going to tell you any of the secret specifics." So why'd you mention it, champ? Did you need a pat on the back?
A teaser and trailer round out the features.