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Victor Crowley (2017) / D: Adam Green / 83m

Cast: Parry Shen, Kane Hodder, Laura Ortiz, Dave Sheridan, Krystal Joy Brown, Brian Quinn, Felissa Rose, Chase Williamson, Katie Booth, Tiffany Shepis

You just can’t keep a hulking, deformed mass murderer down… Ten years after the events that occuured in Hatchet III (2013), sole survivor of the last Honey Island Swamp massacre Andrew Yong (Shen) has written a book about his experiences, but he’s still viewed with suspicion as being the real culprit. His publicist (Rose) persuades him to return to Honey Island Swamp as part of the anniversary “celebrations”. Meanwhile, a trio of would-be movie makers, Chloe (Booth), her boyfriend Alex (Williamson), and Rose (Ortiz), head there in order to try and involve Andrew in a trailer they’re making to try and get funding for a movie about Crowley and the murders. Andrew’s flight crash lands in the swamp, while Chloe’s insistence on using the curse that made Crowley the way he is in the trailer, leads to his resurrection. Soon, Victor is back to his old tricks: hacking and tearing and rending his victims’ limbs from their bodies while they themselves fight to stay alive.

Does the world need another Hatchet movie? Do we really need another gore-splattered ode to Eighties horror? Thanks to the presence of series’ creator and overseer Adam Green, then the answer is… yes and no. Green is an old hand at this, and he knows what he’s doing, but this is easily the slightest entry in the series, and trades in comedy more than it does horror. The characters are forgettable, with even pantomime turns from Rose and Sheridan (as a swamp tour guide called Dillon) failing to engage the audience. With such a slight story, thanks be to almighty Victor that Green ladles on the ketchup with gleeful abandon, and makes as much of his victims-trapped-in-a-plane-waiting-to-die scenario as he can. The cast are clearly having fun, Green is clearly encouraging them to do so, Victor’s resurrection allows him a bit of a makeover from previous entries, and the truncated finale reminds everyone that this is a low budget horror movie when all’s said and dismembered.

Rating: 6/10 – Green is the key player here, his affection for the tropes and themes of Eighties horror movies serving him well, even if this latest outing lacks the franchise integrity of the previous entries; unrepentently gory, and made for fans of the series before anyone else, Victor Crowley at least retains the crude energy of its predecessors, but spends too much time trying to make us care about characters who are merely cannon fodder for Green’s cursed protagonist.

Another WolfCop (2017) / D: Lowell Dean / 79m

Cast: Leo Fafard, Yannick Bisson, Amy Matysio, Jonathan Cherry, Serena Miller, Devery Jacobs, Kris Blackwell, Kevin Smith

In the small, run down Canadian town of Woodhaven, things are looking up: self-made billionaire drinks manufacturer Swallows (Bisson) is opening a factory to make and distribute his new beer, Chicken Milk Stout (no, really). Swallows has an ulterior motive though: his beer contains a formula that allows hideous, malformed creatures to gestate in people’s abdomens (though why he’s doing this is never explained; naturally). The local police, led by new Chief Tina Walsh (Matysio), know that something isn’t right in their town, but can’t quite connect the dots. Even Lou Garou (Fafard), the force’s own WolfCop, is at a loss. But with the help of former enemy Willie Higgins (Cherry), and Willie’s sister, Kat (Miller), Lou and Tina begin to put two and two together and realise what Swallows is up to. This leads to a bloody confrontation between Garou as WolfCop and Swallows’ minions, as the fight to save the town from being overrun by Swallows’ hideous creatures can only have one outcome.

Does the world need another WolfCop movie? Do we really need another comedy horror that’s content to amble through its poorly conceived set up with all the aplomb of a drunk trying to pass a sobriety test? Thanks to the presence of creator and overseer Lowell Dean then the answer is… yes and no. This is yet another horror sequel where the makers’ intentions are hampered by the practicalities of making the movie itself. There’s nothing ostensibly wrong with low budget horror movies, but Another WolfCop shows that with fewer production values, there are often fewer moments where the movie works. Here, there are too many occasions where the script comes up with a fairly good idea only to abandon it minutes later, or it thinks of something cool to include, but then it doesn’t look as cool in its execution (a sex scene between Lou in his human form and Kat in her shapeshifting form fits the bill entirely). The first WolfCop showed invention and a degree of wit that suited the material, but on returning to the well, Dean has failed to produce the same kind of magic that made the first one work so well. At the end, the movie promises that WolfCop will return. If he does, then let’s hope Dean comes up with better material than he has here.

Rating: 4/10 – a massive drop in quality from the first movie shows that Another WolfCop should have been kept on the back burner until more money or a better script – or both – were available; the cast don’t seem able to muster the necessary enthusiasm to make things more palatable, the waywardness of the script derails both the drama and the comedy, and even the presence of Kevin Smith (as Mayor Bubba no less) can’t stop this from looking and sounding like a bad idea from the start.