Last night, I was on hand for the surprise premiere of director Adam Green’s newest film in the HATCHET franchise, VICTOR CROWLEY. The film, which takes place 10 years after the last one, stars Parry Shen (Better Luck Tomorrow), Dave Sheridan (Scary Movie), Laura Ortiz (The Hills Have Eyes), Chase Williamson (John Dies at the End), Brian Quill (“Impractical Jokers”) and the one and only, Kane Hodder (Friday the 13th Part 7).

VICTOR CROWLEY centers around Andrew Yong, the lone survivor of the 2007 massacre at Honey Island Swamp in Louisiana. For the past 10 years, amid controversy, Yong has been trying to convince people that the legend of Victor Crowley is real and responsible for the brutal slayings. When an opportunity arises that brings Yong back to the scene of the crimes, it’s up to him and a group of people to defeat the resurrected Crowley before they find themselves hacked up into pieces.

I don’t want to give too much away because honestly, it’s much better to go into this film blind than to know all that unfolds. However, what I can say is that between all the cameos, over the top gore, humor, and more blood than I could imagine, VICTOR CROWLEY has become the unexpected surprise hit of the summer. I won’t lie and say I was a huge fan of the HATCHET franchise, I enjoyed them for what they were as I’m not the biggest fan of the slasher genre. With that said, I can say with complete honesty and sincerity that VICTOR CROWLEY is one of the best horror films of the year, especially in the sub-genre of slasher films.

Aside from the fact that Green made a fantastic film that is a “thank you” to his fans, I appreciated his dedication and use for practical effects. Sure, there were moments where the loss of limbs looked incredibly fake, but it didn’t really matter. The kills were so exaggerated and entertaining that they became some of the best moments of the film. It goes without saying that gore-hounds and fans of the HATCHET films are going to love what Victor Crowley has in store for them. Even as someone who isn’t a huge fan of gore, I could’t help but laugh and shield my eyes at some of the gruesome death scenes. I do have a favorite one, but I can’t tell you what it is for fear of giving away specific plot points, so let’s just say it has to do with a cell phone.

Something I think that is important to note is that before the screening started, Green gave a very heartfelt speech. The audience learned that the last few years Green had been struggling in his personal life, to the point where things got so bad he considered ending his life. His speech was incredibly personal and extremely raw, with many of us – fans, friends, mentors, colleagues – trying to hold back tears. Green opened up a part of himself by sharing some dark moments and from that he was embraced by all of us. So many of us idolize these celebrities without realizing that they too have their own personal demons they must conquer and in the case of Adam Green, he faced his and by doing so, was able to create VICTOR CROWLEY.

This film has a lot of heart and soul throughout, though you may have to dig through some corpses and dismembered limbs to get there. A lot of people believed in Green’s work and it’s apparent just how much Green believes, appreciates, and loves his fans. Seeing the entire cast and crew come on stage after the premiere was heartwarming because they truly are a Hatchet Family. On a personal note, as someone who has dealt with depression and my own inner demons, I would like to thank Adam Green for sharing his story, for not giving up, for moving forward, and accomplishing such a huge achievement. Your story touched the hearts of many and your latest film has rocked the entire horror world.

Overall, VICTOR CROWLEY is a must-see movie for horror fans of any generation. I would definitely suggest watching the other films in the HATCHET franchise, if only to really understand the entire story, but this film can also stand alone on its own. The fact that Green and the entire cast and crew were able to keep this a secret for two years is astonishing and I’m floored with all that they have accomplished. You’ll laugh, you’ll scream, you’ll jump out of your seat, and you’ll have a bloody great time doing so. As of right now, there is no official release date, but Green announced that he will be touring the film in October and November, so make sure to check out his site for more information.

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