It was probably too soon to hope for a sequel to Frozen, Adam Green’s nifty freakout from earlier this year about a trio of teens victimized by frostbite and ravenous wolves after being trapped on a ski lift. That clever, suspenseful exercise in desperation is referenced at one point during Green’s Hatchet II, in which Emma Bell’s Parker, having survived the horror of the previous film, is seen on television telling a reporter, “I’m never going skiing again.” That in-joke trivializes the emotional richness Frozen remarkably sustained throughout much of its running time, but it’s in keeping with Hatchet II‘s overall flippancy.
The drunken doofus that barfs on a French Quarter sidewalk sets the tone early as Mary Beth (now Danielle Harris), having survived the brute force of psycho ghost killer Victor Crowley (Kane Hodder), enlists the help of voodoo priest Reverend Zombie (Tony Todd) to retrieve her father and brother’s corpses from Victor’s swamp of horrors. Touching, except her desire is really an excuse for Green to once again make a spectacle of Victor’s panache for the Grand Guignol, which this time includes slicing two dudes in half with the largest chainsaw on record and decapitating some schmuck while he gives it to his ex-girlfriend doggy-style. Rob Zombie could sue Green for filching his lightning filters, and though the splatter effects are still impressive, the audience must suffer through an hour of deadening exposition—all nonsensical backstory and tone-deaf humor—before Victor hacks away at his first human face. By then, you will have probably already torn off your own.