Hatchet II appears in an aspect ratio of approximately 1.78:1 on this single-sided, double-layered DVD; the image has been enhanced for 16X9 televisions. As far as SD-DVD transfers go, this one looked pretty mediocre.
Sharpness was up and down, as the movie exhibited inconsistent levels of clarity. Overall, close-ups boasted good definition but wider shots suffered from mild to moderate softness. Artifacts made the image a bit messy at times, but no issues with jagged edges or shimmering occurred, and edge enhancement failed to appear throughout the movie. Source flaws weren’t a factor.
Colors weren’t much of a concern in this fairly monochromatic affair. Given the nature of the story, I didn’t expect dynamic hues, and the film tended toward a subdued brownish look much of the time. What colors we found seemed decent but unexceptional. Blacks tended to appear somewhat loose and inky, though, and shadows were often too dark. That was an issue given the fact that so much of the film took place in low-light swamp shots. All in all, there was enough positive material on display for a “C+”, but it wasn’t an inspiring presentation.
Stronger material cropped up with the film’s Dolby Digital 5.1 soundtrack. Like many horror movies, it mostly went with creepy atmosphere. A few action/scare sequences brought the track to life in a more active manner, but these were infrequent. Instead, the mix usually focused on general environment, and that side of things worked well. The audio used the speakers in a natural manner that created a good soundscape.
Music also featured nice stereo imaging, and the surrounds contributed to the ambience. The back channels didn’t have a lot to do, but that added to the film’s aura. The whole package connected together in a reasonably involving manner.
Audio quality was positive. Music showed nice range and clarity, while effects offered good accuracy and punch. The smattering of loud scenes showed solid definition, and they lacked distortion. Speech was also concise and natural. Nothing here dazzled, but it achieved its modest goals.
This DVD nearly equals the roster of extras found on the Hatchet Blu-ray. It also includes two separate audio commentaries, the first of which comes from writer/director Adam Green, cinematographer Will Barratt, and makeup effects supervisor Robert Pendergraft. They sit together for their running, screen-specific discussion of story/character topics, sets and locations, cinematography, various effects, cast and performances, and some other subjects.
A good audio commentary requires a chatty participant, and Green delivers that in spades. Barratt and Pendergraft throw in useful notes as well, but Green is the one who makes this an above average piece. He digs into topics with gusto and helps deliver an engaging, informative chat.
For the second commentary, we hear from writer/director Adam Green and actors Kane Hodder and Tony Todd. All three also sit together for this running, screen-specific look at a variety of movie-related topics, but two dominate: cast/performances and issues connected to the movie’s rating and release.
To his credit, Green consciously avoids repetition of material from the first commentary, so that means lots of fresh information here. He and the actors delve into the various topics in a compelling manner, though as usual, Green dominates; Todd and Hodder offer some nice reflections, but they’re not a major aspect of the track. Given how passionate and interesting Green tends to be, I don’t mind that; he helps turn this into another useful chat.
A documentary called Behind the Screams runs 33 minutes, 38 seconds and features notes from Green, Barratt, Hodder, Todd, producer Sarah Elbert, producer/2nd unit director Jason Miller, and actors Parry Shen, AJ Bowen, RA Mihailoff, Tom Holland, Danielle Harris, and David Foy. “Screams” looks at coming back for the sequel, the movie’s body count and story areas, cast/performances, music and editing, sets and effects, and a few other topics.
The Hatchet Blu-ray included a terrific documentary, but “Screams” doesn’t live up to that one; it’s a bit scattershot and doesn’t offer a lot of depth. Still, it throws out some good footage from the set and storyboards. The interview notes are unremarkable, but we still get a decent look at the flick.
The disc opens with ads for Bitter Feast, House of the Devil, and The Last Lovecraft. We also find two trailers for Hatchet II along with a TV spot and a radio ad.
Though not as loose and fun as its predecessor, Hatchet II delivers a pretty good horror flick. It delivers the requisite gore and action to make it reasonably entertaining. The DVD offers average picture quality along with positive audio and some interesting audio commentaries. Slasher fans will dig this movie.