Victor Crowley (Blu-Ray Review)
Victor Crowley returned to slash his way through screens last year with the surprise unveiling by director Adam Green on Tuesday, August 22, 2017, at a sold-out show at the Arclight Cinema in Hollywood. Guests thought they were there to see a 10th Anniversary showing of Hatchet, only to find out they were, in fact, about to see a new movie.
Since Victor Crowley’s premiere on August 22nd the film has been hitting the festival circuits and theaters before landing on Blu-Ray February 6th 2018, with rave reviews and numerous awards from fright festivals in tow.
Victor Crowley marks the fourth movie in the Hatchet franchise, which started in 2007. Filmed under the fake name “Arwen’s Fancy Dinner” and later “Arwen’s Revenge” to keep the production a secret to the rest of the world, who by now, had thought Victor Crowley, and the Hatchet series, was buried in the swamps. But, like Crowley’s slasher brethren, Jason Voorhees, Michael Myers, and Freddy Krueger, you can only keep a good killer down for so long before they find a way of coming back from their graves.
The film follows Andrew (Parry Shen, Hatchet 1-3) the only survivor from the grizzly Crowley murders. Andrew has written a book about his harrowing ordeal, and the fallout that happened after the murders, including him being the prime suspect in the killing spree. Andrew, along with his publicist, Kathleen (Felissa Rose, Sleepaway Camp) are back in New Orleans to promote his book, I Survived. While at a signing, Andrew is approached by three filmmakers: Director Chloe (Katie Booth), her boyfriend/actor, Alex (Chase Williamson, John Dies at the End, Beyond the Gates) and make-up artist, Rose (Laura Ortiz The Hills Have Eyes ’07, Holliston) to see if they can get him to participate in their “fake trailer” about the Crowley murders. But in a twist of fate, Kathleen tells Andrew they just landed a deal of a lifetime – a “true crime” series wants to interview him at the scene of the murders and are offering one million dollars for the interview. Reluctantly, Andrew agrees and boards a plane only to realize that he is going to be interviewed by his ex-wife (Krystal Joy Brown) and her crew consisting of Casey (Tiffany Shepis), and Austin (Impractical Jokers’ Brian Quinn). But when the plane crashes in the swamp, and Victor Crowley is resurrected, (no spoilers on how that happens) once again played by the imposing Kane Hodder (Friday the 13th 7,8,9,10, Hatchet 1-3) things really get bloody
SIDE NOTE: the line “played by the imposing Kane Hodder” is taken right from the back of the VHS for Friday the 13th: Part 8: Jason Takes Manhattan.
Like with all previous Hatchet films, they are throwbacks to 1980s slasher films. Victor Crowley sticks with this formula: bloody, funny, and scary; with enough plot and thrills to keep the movie going forward at a steady pace.
Green’s writing is planted firmly in cheek; he knows exactly what he’s making and knows when to make the audience laugh, afraid, or even emotional at times. His characters (in the Hatchet films) have never been the overly serious trope, and they are not meant to be – they are fodder for Crowley’s hands. What he does, instead, is create quirky characters that are likeable and funny - characters that you know are going to do something dumb that gets them killed, but you don’t really want to see them die because he adds just enough subtext to make them relatable. He pulls this off in Victor Crowley better than he had in previous Hatchet films, with turns in characters that one won’t see coming. He also casts these roles very well, using a mix of horror veterans, comedians, and new comers and sometimes himself or his buddy, fellow director Joe Lynch (Wrong Turn 2, Mayhem) to give these films something fresh, as well as a wink to the fans – look for other horror veterans to show up thoughout the film too.
Green’s direction is spot-on with a lean 83 min runtime; the film never feels that it outstays its welcome and gives enough character development, plot, scares, tension, and bloody gore that most fans should be happy with the end result.
As always, Kane Hodder is great as Victor Crowley: mean, menacing, big, ugly, and scary. He brings so much life to Crowley with just his movements and grunts that it’s hard not to be terrified when Hodder/Crowley is on screen, smashing his way through something or about to rip a character limb from limb.
There were several standouts performances in the film: Felissa Rose was fantastic as the Long Island accented publicist; she had several scenes in the film that were hilarious. Parry Shen held the film together as Andrew; he did a great job conveying the tortured emotions and feelings of the character, while at the same time being the voice of reason when everything turns and Crowley comes looking for blood. Laura Ortiz, who at first looks to be the snarky sidekick friend, ends up making a drastic character turn that is not foresaw - a hard thing for any actress to pull off.
The biggest surprise though was Brian Quinn. The Impractical Jokers star was great in his role as Austin, and he could act! His character is likeable, funny, and caring. Quinn pulled this off effortlessly, like he’d been acting his entire life.
The Blu-Ray comes with the following:
Cast Commentary with writer/director Adam Green, Actors Parry Shen, Laura Ortiz and Dave Sheridan
Technical Commentary with writer/director Adam Green, Cinematographer Jan-Michael Losada, Editor Matt Latham, and Make-Up FX Artist Robert Pendergraft
Behind the Scenes Featurette – which is a must watch if you’re a fan of how movies are made; it’s a very in-depth look at the making of Victor Crowley and shows Green and crew in the mix of the process of bringing the film together.
Raising the Dead…Again: An Interview with Adam Green – this may be the most powerful, emotional interview ever put on a Blu-Ray. Fans of Adam Green’s NEED to watch this. Words written here would not do the interview justice, and it is better left if the viewer watches the segment and listens to what Adam has to say.
Victor Crowley is a welcome addition to the Hatchet series, and one can only hope that there are several more Hatchet films in the years to come…
10 out of 10 Stars.