Hatchet III continues the escalation that Hatchet II began: where the first sequel replaced unarmed tourists with armed hillbillies, the second sequel upgrades to an entire SWAT platoon (and consequently, even fewer female characters). The same intensification is evident in the gore, which is more excessive but less imaginative than the earlier films. Where Hatchet II was elevated by a decent story and a memorable turn from Tony Todd, the third film has little to recommend it, its half-hearted screenplay an underwhelming excuse to send a bunch of unexceptional characters to their deaths at the hands of Victor Crowley.
By now, the inexplicably well-lit woods where the bulk of the action takes place have well-and-truly worn out their welcome; it might accommodate a low budget, but it’s a boring setting (jazzing it up with blue lights and dry ice – disco-style! – doesn’t help). The jokey horror references of the prequels remain, and provide the film’s brief moments of entertainment thanks to a host of horror alumni, with Sid Haig doing his best in a brief cameo, and new-Jason (Derek Mears) pitted against old-Jason (Kane Hodder). Sadly, all Hatchet III really has to recommend it is such “I know that guy” moments.