Victor Crowley (2017)

FRIGHTFEST PREMIERE REVIEW

It’s been 4 years since we got to enjoy the last instalment in the Hatchet series from Adam Green.  Many of us thought following Hatchet 3 that that was it, but last week Adam surprised audiences by revealing his secretly made sequel/reboot Victor Crowley ahead of its Frightfest premiere. You would think that finding out at such short notice before the showing would have lessened the anticipation for this fourth film, but it just made the excitement more intense and my hopes for it much higher.

Victor Crowley is set ten years after the massacre, with Andrew Yong (Parry Shen) making a name for himself doing publicity for his book about his survival from Victor Crowley (Kane Hodder). He’s become an infamous figure in society, with many people disbelieving every word he says (Who he’s compared to makes you laugh and cringe simultaneously as how cruel yet accurate it is – dark and perfect choice there guys!). But Andrew continues on his press tour, is coaxed into returning to Honey Island Swamp for a TV show, and then the gore and hilarity truly starts. To say too much more on the plot would spoil it so that’s all you’re getting there, it’s far more fun to go in knowing only the tiniest amount.

It was great to have Parry Shen back as Andrew Yong, after he survived Victor’s attempts to rip him to shreds I had wondered how he would cope in the aftermath, and in Victor Crowley as heroic as he can be he’s also so amusingly pathetic to watch. The new additions to the cast are all great fun and mostly likable (Sabrina not so much, but hey, she’s supposed to be a bitch so this works!) – and a massive mention has to go to Dave Sheridan playing the strong but dim Dillon, who I don’t know about anyone else but was giving off some seriously strong Bruce Campbell vibes to me (Which I freaking loved).

The film moves quickly, setting up the characters and the scene for maximum violent fun. Unlike the previous three films there’s an element of suspense here which really builds the mood, we know Victor is going to kill them, we know it’s going to be insane, but it’s no longer as instantaneous as it was previously. I really enjoyed that as it gave you a moment to let your own dark twisted mind fill in the blanks on when and how he might off a particular character. Your mind still won’t beat what happens though – however if it does maybe go seek some professional help okay?

Setting a fair bit of the film in a small enclosed space was a stroke of genius, taking it away from the traditional running away from a crazed slasher in the woods to something more claustrophobic and stressful, from the Q&A with Adam I’m aware of how hard they had to work to get this to work, and it really pays off in spades. These scenes were some of my most favourite of the film.

Visually and musically the film is slick, the Victor Crowley prosthetics and make-up are the best they’ve ever been, having evolved through the films to something that now looks exactly right. The music is fun, steering well clear of the clichéd “screeching violins” that have been done to death in other films. After the Victor Crowley tour hopefully the soundtrack will be released as I would have that on repeat. I love when films use music that most wouldn’t traditionally associate with it; it keeps things fresh and stops it being obvious when something is going to happen in the plot.

So how was Victor Crowley? For a film that I only knew existed days before seeing it my hopes were incredibly high and I was beyond excited to get to see it, so I went in expecting A LOT. And I wasn’t disappointed, Adam and his cast and crew have worked damn hard (In secret no less) and produced a film that made me laugh, jump and became the highlight of Saturday at Frightfest. As if there wasn’t already enough to thank George A. Romero for, encouraging Adam Green to make more Crowley films is another to add to the list. It’s funny, gory as fuck and fantastic escapism from the misery of the world today. When you get a chance to see this, wherever you are, watch it!

Overall Rating: 5/5 Dark, gory and freaking hysterical, Victor Crowley is hopefully nowhere near being the last we see of the franchise.

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