Hatchet III appears in an aspect ratio of approximately 2.35:1 on this Blu-ray Disc. This was a decent but erratic image.
Though sharpness looked generally positive, it lacked consistency. While some shots displayed strong delineation, others tended to be a little on the soft side. Overall definition was fine, but it just wasn’t as good as I’d anticipate. I saw no signs of jaggies or shimmering, and edge haloes remained absent. No print flaws could be found either.
Colors tended toward a greenish tint. That gave the movie a somewhat ugly feel that I didn’t think was totally intentional, as the hues seemed murkier than I’d expect. The colors weren’t terrible, but they could be unappealing. Blacks were fine, as they seemed reasonably dense, and shadows showed reasonable clarity; the greenness gave them a bland feel but they were still fairly visible. This wasn’t a bad presentation, but it wasn’t better than a “B-“.
I felt a bit more pleased with the movie’s DTS-HD MA 5.1 soundtrack, though it didn’t excel either. While the soundscape offered reasonable breadth, the elements didn’t combine in an especially immersive manner. Different components cropped up around the room in logical spots but movement and integration weren’t as strong as I’d like. Still, these pieces gave the soundfield reasonable involvement and kick.
Audio quality seemed fine. Speech was fairly distinctive and lacked notable flaws like crackling, while music showed pretty good range and clarity. Effects came across as dynamic and full, with powerful low-end when necessary. I liked this track well enough for a “B”.
When we shift to the set’s extras, we find two separate audio commentaries. The first comes from writer/producer Adam Green, director BJ McDonnell, cinematographer Will Barratt and makeup effects artist Robert Pendergraft, all of whom sit together for a running, screen-specific piece. They discuss why Green didn’t direct the film, sets and locations, cinematography and editing, stunts and action, effects and makeup, and a few other areas.
Billed as a “technical commentary”, those areas dominate; indeed, whenever the subject drifts elsewhere, the participants quickly bat it back on target. This might’ve made the track seem dry, but that never becomes the case, as the guys manage to give us a fun look at the production. We get a nice mix of facts and stories in this enjoyable overview.
For the second commentary, we find another running, screen-specific chat with Green, McDonnell and actors Kane Hodder and Parry Shen. They cover cast and performances, story and characters, and general notes about the shoot.
Though I normally prefer commentaries that focus on the “creative side” over the technical ones, that situation reverses itself for Hatchet III. Perhaps this occurs because McDonnell and Green recorded the other track first, but it gives us a brisker, more informative chat. We do still find a reasonable amount of material here, and the actors’ perspectives adds value, so this piece merits your attention; I just don’t like it as much as its sibling.
Under Hatchet III: Behind the Scenes, we locate a nine-minute, six-second featurette that takes us to the set. We hear a few soundbites but mostly we just see candid footage from the production. After two commentaries, I’m fine with the lack of interviews, and this becomes a fun look at the shoot.
For more with the actor, we go to the four-minute, 57-second Raising Kane. This follows him on the set, though we mostly see him go through the makeup process. This feels like a companion to “Behind the Scenes” and it works reasonably well.
Finally, Swamp Fun fills eight minutes, 53 seconds with more footage from location. As implied by the title, we see cast and crew in a swamp and watch them battle mosquitoes and other natural obstacles. This becomes another piece in the same vein as “Behind the Scenes”, and it comes with some enjoyable elements, especially when Green pesters actor Zach Galligan about Gremlins.
The disc opens with ads for Stitches, Manborg, Sleep Tight and Frankenstein’s Army. We also find both the teaser and theatrical trailers for Hatchet III.
After two pretty enjoyable horror flicks, we get a completed hat trick via Hatchet III. While I can’t claim to love any of the films, I think they all work well, and III delivers another bloody good time. The Blu-ray delivers fairly positive picture and audio along with some interesting audio commentaries. If you liked the first two Hatchet movies, III merits your attention.