Hatchet II appears in an aspect ratio of approximately 1.78:1 on this Blu-ray Disc. Though not stellar, the image looked good.
Sharpness was a positive element. Due to iffy depth of field, a few shots seemed a bit out of focus, but that stemmed from the original photography. Outside of a few slightly soft wide elements, the movie demonstrated nice clarity and definition. 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 fine, as they showed adequate vivacity. Blacks could appear a bit flat, but they usually boasted positive depth, and shadows were mostly fine. Though a few low-light shots came across as somewhat dense, these weren’t a substantial concern. Overall, this was an appealing visual presentation.
I also felt pleased with the film’s DTS-HD MA 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.
How did the picture and sound of this Blu-Ray compare with those of the DVD version? Both movies featured similar audio. The DTS-HD mix boasted a slightly stronger impact, but it wasn’t a big change.
The visuals showed the more substantial improvements. This was primarily due to greatly increased definition; the Blu-ray offered a much more detailed image. I also thought blacks were deeper, shadows were clearer, and the digital artifacts from the DVD went missing. The Blu-ray was definitely the better image, and by a wide margin.
The Blu-ray includes the same extras as the DVD plus a couple of exclusives. Both provide 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.
Two Blu-ray exclusive featurettes appear next. Hatchet II: EPK runs eight minutes, 14 seconds and offers info from Green, Elbert, Foy, Hodder, Mihailoff, Harris, and Todd. We get quick notes about story, characters, cast, performances and stunts. As far as EPKs go, this one’s actually pretty good, but we don’t really learn anything here that we don’t get elsewhere.
The Killing Machine goes for six minutes, 14 seconds and features Pendergraft, special effects Duke Cullen, Jenn Rose and Anthony Bates. They deliver info about the various effects used in the film. They deliver reasonably good details as they let us know how they created the flick’s gore.
The disc opens with ads for Bitter Feast, House of the Devil, Wake Wood 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 Blu-ray offers positive picture audio along with some useful supplements. This is an entertaining slasher flick, and the Blu-ray becomes the best way to see it.
To rate this film please visit the Unrated Director's Cut review of HATCHET II