Victor Crowley (2017)

Victor Crowley


Ten years after the events that killed 40-some-odd people in Honey Island swamp, and the incident’s lone survivor, Andrew Yong, is still dealing with the fallout. Since Victor Crowley was defeated all the needless bloodshed has since ceased, meaning there was no one else to pin the murders on, leaving Yong with a decades long suspicion hanging over his head. Andrew has tried to move on by writing a book about his experience, but naturally very few people tend to believe you when you’re found amongst a pile of bodies and your only explanation is “a ghost did it.” But despite his innocence, Andrew is also an opportunist who can’t pass up a quick buck, even if it means going back to the swamp that almost killed him once before. But it should be fine. I mean, Victor is long gone. His house and all of his possessions have been converted into a creepy, chincy tourist destination, and his story has been turned into little more than a disturbing online mystery. After ten years it’s not like some idiot film crew is going to wander into the swamp and just accidentally resurrect him by perfectly reciting the same curse that brought him back from the dead the first time…. Right?


I think I’ve decided I’m going to spend this month following up on sequels I haven’t gotten around to yet. So first up is Victor Crowley, which, in case you’ve been confused by the name change, is the fourth (and currently most recent) installment in the Hatchet series (though they’re apparently planning more, because of course they are). Amongst fans, the Hatchet films are widely known for two things (three if you count the cameos (and I should really stop with the parenthesis, they’re getting out of hand)). The first, is their very particular style of horror humor, and the second: lots and lots of gore. After re-watching the first three films, and subsequently this one, I can confirm that Victor Crowley still manages to retain those same qualities that made the earlier films fan favorites to begin with, and that it also manages to do it without feeling like there’s been some kind of sharp drop in quality. Meaning that even though it has its fair share of flaws, so far this series has remained shockingly consistent.

Yes, this does seem familiar…

If you liked the other Hatchet films, then this film is going to feel like much of the same. You want campy humor? It’s here. Gross Out humor? Also here. Slasher humor? Yes. Ridiculously intentional, over-the-top acting? Yep, present in spades. Cameos by horror icons? Got those too.  Excessive gore and splatter effects that’ll make you go “…Holy Jeebus Adam Green”? Oh yeah, they didn’t skimp in that area either. And they managed to wrap it all up in an atmosphere that’s remarkably similar to the previous three movies. Which is impressive considering the time gap between the third and fourth film.


That said, there are a couple of dings against it that’ll probably be a turn off for the more casual horror fans. The first is that the film’s pacing kinda…. Well, to be blunt, it sucks. With the exception of the opening death scene that’s part of a flashback that ties into the 1960s (which as far as I can tell has no bearing to the story), the entire first half of the movie is bereft of any Victor and consists of little more than a long string of character introductions and jokes. Now, if you’re a fan of the humor, and this series’ style of campiness, then you’ll likely be golden. But if you not, then I can almost guarantee that the first 45-minutes-or-so are going to feel like a variable slog, because most of said humor is aimed squarely at humiliating Andrew Yong, which, as amusing as some of the jokes are, is something that can start feeling really old, really fast.

Mr. Shen does have some amusing facial expressions, though.

Hell, even if you are a fan of the series, the first half may very well still likely feel like a slog, because quite honestly, there’s really very little happening, story-wise, until the half-way mark. It’s all just one, very long and drawn out excuse to get a bunch of people to the swamp. Which shouldn’t be necessary, because we all know what kind of movie we’re watching, and that we’re here to watch some slaughtering. So the characters may as well have just materialized in the swamp to start with and saved us all some time. But no, the first 40 minutes insists on elaborating on the various interpersonal lives of the slaughter fodder. Which would be fine, except sometimes it works and sometimes it doesn’t, and most of the time it focuses on the wrong thing, or is so superficial that no one is going to give a flying flip anyway, so what’s the point? Like, seriously, I don’t care that the sound guy and the camera chick are banging. I just don’t. I do, however, wonder why Andrew’s ex-girlfriend vehemently hates his guts so much, but of course the film never bothers to share that little tidbit of information with the rest of the class.

Got anything to say, movie? No? Gonna be tight-lipped about it? FIne. Be that way.

Bottom line though: if you like the earlier films, then you’re probably going to like Victor Crowley. It’s really just more of the same. Same dumb characters, same silly humor, and same bloody, grisly endings. It’s not the best film in the series, hell it’s not even the series best sequel, but it does manage to remain on-par with the rest of the franchise, which is a rare feat amongst horror sequels. Casual viewers might not be all that impressed, but fans of the series and gore hounds will likely get a kick out of this.

Victor Crowley is available on a variety of streaming services.

Victor Crowley is also available on DVD and Bluray.

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