by Johnny Web (Uncle Scoopy; Greg Wroblewski)

Hack is one of those self-referential "insider" horror films like Scream. You know the drill by now. The seven main characters in the film, kids stranded and vulnerable, talk about making films, especially horror films. They discuss stereotypical casting, cliches, outrageous plot twists, and so forth in ways that are supposed to make us arch an eyebrow at the obvious irony involved in their blissful ignorance that all the situations they discuss parallel their own.

As it turns out, there's kinda sorta a good explanation for why they seem to be in a horror film, other than the fact that they are in the one we are watching. You see, the seven biology students have been stranded on their island as part of a master plot to create a "reality horror" movie, in which they will die in the manner of classic horror movie deaths while the producers film all the action, unbeknownst to the victims. From the audience point of view, the plot is driven by curiosity about who exactly is pulling all the strings. The last twenty minutes consist of a series of convoluted twists and turns in which the presumed killers either get killed or are revealed to be good guys. It turns out that there are more and more levels to the film-within-a-film. In other words, perhaps it is a film within a film within a film and somebody else is making a movie about other people making a snuff movie. Or maybe somebody else is making a movie about that. And so on.

People rise from the dead again and again. The (presumed) villains are a couple who mimic Morticia and Gomez Addams. The dialogue and situations consist almost entirely of homages to memorable films, from the horror genre and elsewhere. It's all just a bunch of silliness, and it is not meant to be taken seriously.

While it is not a great movie, it is far better than the IMDb score of 2.6. I have no idea what's up with that. The proper score is in the 5s somewhere, comparable to the Scream sequels, which score 5.3 and 5.8. In fact, I liked it better than either of those films, but then again maybe I liked it because it was made for movie buffs as a game of "spot the reference." But I don't think that's the only reason I liked it. The film also looks gorgeous, and contains the minimum daily requirements of the lurid guilty pleasures that the genre is heir to: a beautiful naked woman (three nude scenes for Gabrielle Richens), demented evildoers, comic relief, and bizarre deaths. In an touch of absurdity, it also features William Forsythe as Groundskeeper Willie, with outrageous Scots accent, facial hair and all. I kid you not. No, it doesn't make any sense in context. He's just there because he's there.

The only time the movie falls off is when it sails in the narrow channel between B-movie land and spoof land. There are times when the spoofery is so subdued that it seems like one is simply watching a bad movie. (It's a straight-faced parody, not a broad "nudge-nudge" farce like Scary Movie. A lot of IMDb commenters seem to be unaware that the film was fuckin' with them.) It has its dead spots, but all in all, I think it's a reasonably entertaining entry in the Dr. Phibes line, which consists of the horror movies which know that they are campy and ridiculous and use that knowledge as part of the entertainment.


* widescreen 1.66







There are no mainstream reviews online, but nearly two dozen genre sites reviewed it and are linked from IMDb.


2.6 IMDB summary (of 10)


Straight to DVD.



  • Gabrielle Richens did three nude scenes. (T&A only)


Web www.scoopy.com

Our Grade:

If you are not familiar with our grading system, you need to read the explanation, because the grading is not linear. For example, by our definition, a C is solid and a C+ is a VERY good movie. There are very few Bs and As. Based on our descriptive system, this film is a:


It is a watchable genre parody, kinda comparable in tone to Ebert's Beyond the Valley of the Dolls.