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Featured DVD Review: Blood Night

June 13th, 2011

Blood Night: The Legend of Mary Hatchet - Buy from Amazon

Blood Night: The Legend of Mary Hatchet was made in 2008 and since then there have been several aborted attempts at a release. But finally, this week it hits the home market. Was it worth the wait, or will it fade away lost in a crowded market of low-budget teenage slashers?

The Movie

The film starts with an extended prologue where we meet Mary Hatchet, first as a child when she kills her parents, and them as patient in a mental hospital where she is raped by an orderly and impregnated. When her baby doesn't survive childbirth, she goes on a bloody rampage in the asylum before eventually being shot to death by the police.

Flash forward two decades later, the Mary Hatchet massacre is almost a point of pride for the kids of the town. Blood Night is what it is called, and it mostly involves alcohol, juvenile pranks and lots of alcohol. (Alcohol is important enough to be mentioned twice.) There's a montage of kids preparing by buying lots of toilet paper, eggs, and tampons. The particular group we will be following heads to the cemetery where Mary Hatchet is buried and decide to play with their Ouija board and try to contact the ghost of Mary. After a couple jump scares, they are interrupted by Graveyard Gus, who explains the legend of the ghost of Mary Hatchet. After Mary Hatchet was killed, she was buried in a different cemetery than his infant child, so every year on Blood Night, her ghost comes back looking for her child, and claiming a few more victims along the way.

They head over to one of the kid's houses and the party phase of Blood Night starts. Eventually more than a dozen people show up, including Alissa, a childhood friend of one of the gang, who is only in town for a couple weeks before heading back to Chicago. The party continues, and continues, and continues, entire finally some of the kids start getting picked off.

As you can probably tell by that last sentence, I thought there was too long of gap between the opening prologue that set up Mary Hatchet, and the beginning of the teenage slashers portion of the movie. It wouldn't be too bad if the roughly 25 minutes between the end of the prologue and the beginning of the killings were filled with interesting characters or scary moments. There are some more jump scares, as well as attempts at gratuitous nudity, but I think many fans of the genre will be impatient by the time the killing starts. Also, when it does begin, far too many of the kills are off screen or barely on screen. Some of the kills we do see are well done and effective. It's always fun seeing Bill Moseley, while Danielle Harris is bit of a mixed bag. She's really good in the movie, easily the best actor of the potential teenage victims; however, she's also by far the most well-known, so you know in the end she will either be the killer or the final girl. This makes the surprise twist a little less surprising.

Overall, Blood Night is little more than an average teenage slasher that started out well, but fell apart after the prologue and even when the victims started to drop, it never matched the intensity of its opening. Perhaps if there were fewer characters introduced, but better developed ones, it would have been more effective.

The Extras

Extras start with a seven-minute making of featurette, which includes the usual mix of talking heads, behind-the-scenes footage, and clips from the movie. There are six interviews with the director and five of the main cast members with a total running time is 28 minutes. Finally, there are six minutes of outtakes. More than 40 minutes of extras is pretty impressive for this type of release.

The Verdict

Blood Night: The Legend of Mary Hatchet doesn't do a lot new with the teenage slasher genre, plus there's a pretty big lull in the middle of the movie. On the other hand, enough works that I think fans of the genre will want to check it out. The extras on the DVD are better than most similar releases, but I would still recommend just a rental.

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