Reviewed by

Christopher Armstead

Upon first glance director Matt Flynn’s film ‘Hack!’ would appear to be quite possibly the most derivative horror film ever made. Just look at the cast of characters of usual suspects which include Emily (Danica McKellar) who is the virginal woman constructed of final girl material, the heroic, handsome and deeply dimpled Johnny (Jay Kenneth Johnson) who also claims to be a virgin, Ricky (Justin Chon) the emasculated Asian, Maddy (Adrienne Frantz) the bitch, Sylvia (Gabrielle Richens) the whore – though usually the bitch and the whore are usually combined into one, this time however they are two separate entities. We also have Tim (Travis Shuldt) the jock, who like most jocks in movies always walks around with a football in his hand, though I honestly can’t ever recall a jock in real life doing that. Does Tom Brady or Adrian Peterson walk around with a football in his hand when they’re not on the field? I am pretty sure Brady doesn’t because Tom knows that it’s very difficult to grope supermodels with only one hand. Lastly we have the Black Guy Q (Won-G) who speaks in urbanese at inappropriate times, freely distributes weed and of course is more frightened than the rest of the characters. Toss in some nonexistent cell phone reception and characters having to go pee in the woods despite the fact that there is slaughter all around them and one would be left questioning why in the world would anyone make, much less watch such a movie. But as we look at the last names of our characters, such as Stoker, King, Shelly, Longley, Bates and Roth to name a few, we realize that Flynn is aiming for satire here with his little horror movie ‘Hack!’ Now the question is did the man succeed in creating this horror satire?

So our youths destined for slaughter are going on a biological field trip organized by the terminally nerdy Emily, and headed off to a coastal island which we know is trouble already since Kane ‘Jason Vorhees’ Hodder lost his head there in the films opening scene. Hosting our youths are Vincent King (Sean Kanan) and his odd wife Mary Shelly (Juliet Landau) who walks around filming everything with a hand held super16 film camera. Don’t ask me where they get this film developed.

Since actress Gabrielle Richens paid damn good money for those breast of hers we have to watch her take a bubble bath and flash her boobs on the beach a couple of times before the killing starts. A rather amusing scene featured Ms. Richens on the beach pulling up her shirt and flashing her glorious surgically enhanced boobies, and not to be outdone, actress Adrienne Frantz also pulls up her shirt, but apparently she refused to sign to the nudity waiver, and amazingly it seemed she had more clothes on after she pulled up her shirt than she did before she pulled up her shirt. Anyway, the killing must start and the characters get taken out by killer clowns, samurai, dudes in raincoats and Samara from The Ring, among others, all under the watchful eye of Mary Shelly’s film camera. There’s a third player in the mix on the island in the Scottish caretaker Willie, played by William Forsythe doing his best Grounskeeper Willie impersonation, but we don’t know exactly on what side he’s on. Of course all isn’t quite what it seems and we will have a twist to sift through, though it shouldn’t be that hard to figure out, as we wait to see who will survive the carnage.

‘Hack!’ is an odd little movie. As we said before the attempt here was to create a satirical take on the horror genre, and director Flynn certainly knows his horror as there are more movie references and names dropped during this film than one would find at one those wacky horror conventions, but this film fails as a true satire because it’s far too blatant in its references and it isn’t written cleverly enough to take proper advantage of the numerous horror references. For instance there is a scene where the dead characters are arranged in certain scenes from some classic horror movies and another character, one by one, points out which horror movie each dead body represents. Part of the fun of satire is figuring out the references, but here the audience – obviously fans of the horror genre since they’re watching this particular movie – are treated as if they’re stupid, and this continues throughout the movie. Let us figure it out on our own man.

It’s actually more of comedy, with lines like ‘Free us Willie!’ than a satire, and succeeds more as a comedy as it does have a few funny scenes, but it’s not nearly funny enough to be a true comedy because it’s also trying to be a regular horror movie as well, which unfortunately it also comes up short. ‘Hack!’ fails in the horror category mainly because the King’s just aren’t that impressive as villains and the majority of our kids are so irritating that killing them off is almost a relief.

However this movie did have a couple of quality cameos provided by Tony Burton and Burt Young of ‘Rocky’ fame who are reunited yet again. What’s amazing about those two is that they were like old men when Rocky came out in 1976. They gotta be over a hundred by now.

‘Hack!’ ultimately suffered from a split personality as it was part satire, part comedy and part horror, and though it had it’s moments in all three phases, the script wasn’t smart enough or clever enough for it work successfully together on all three phases.

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