Orlando Fringe 2023 reviews: ‘The Bloody Hatchet’

High-school friends’ past comes back to haunt them in a very visceral manner in this immersive site-specific show

I’ve been a big fan of contemporary composer-director Nathan Felix’s immersive site-specific Fringe shows since 2019’s Fury in Sound, and this year he’s returned to the horror genre (with the help of co-writer Jason Montilla) with a live-action urban legend that owes a debt to both Evil Dead and I Know What You Did Last Summer. On the lawn across from Orlando Science Center, patrons gather around the rock garden to witness the reunion of three high-school friends (Michaela Wright, Emily Lupfer and Ariel Hudak) who once unleashed a Candyman-esque avenging spirit. Naturally, their past comes back to haunt them in a very visceral manner.

Unlike his earlier works, there’s no singing in The Bloody Hatchet, but Felix has created a haunting cinematic soundscape (heard via wireless headphones) that’s by far the best thing about this show. Unfortunately, the performance I attended was plagued by audio issues, but even if the tech works perfectly, the necessary chilling tone quickly curdles into camp once the titular baddie (Montilla) turns out to be the least intimidating villain since Leprechaun. The secret of his ultimate identity is telegraphed far in advance, and it’s never clear whether we’re supposed to take his homicidal histrionics seriously. The actresses are all admirably committed to this schlocky setup, and I got a nice up-close jump-scare from one performer’s scleral contacts. But despite Felix’s dynamite demonic soundtrack, this one was sadly a swing and a miss of the axe for me.

The Bloody Hatchet
Nathan Felix Orlando Productions

Subscribe to Orlando Weekly newsletters.

Follow us: Google News | NewsBreak | Reddit | Instagram | Facebook | Twitter

About The Author

Scroll to read more Things to Do articles


Join Orlando Weekly Newsletters

Subscribe now to get the latest news delivered right to your inbox.