Thursday, 24 September 2009



Tediously in-jokey and self-referential to the limit, this lives up to its oh-so-clever pun of a title by being the stupidest piece of slasher rubbish in ages. Hack! by name and Hack! by nature, it does what it says on the DVD box by being full of hackings and being made by hacks.

A bunch of film students (who have the cumulative IQ of a Battenberg) spend a few days on a college field trip and find themselves picked off one by one. The characters are the usual stock range of generic types: the Dim Football Jock, the Shy Bespectacled Virgin, the Easy Lay With The Big Hooters, the Quietly Sensitive But Rugged Hero, the Dirty Talking Bitchy Blonde, the Wisecracking Black Dude, plus an exciting new development: the Annoying Camp Asian Guy. One, any, all or none of these might or might not be the killer. Then again, it might be the Mysterious Bearded Scotsman.

Who's doing the killing is actually fairly obvious as he/she/they is/are clearly mad as bats, and the obligatory twist makes absolutely no sense. This is actually par for the course for the DTV slasher movie and you can't really expect anything else. On a straightforward blood and screaming level, Hack! is no better or worse than the last four hundred cheap genre offerings that have cluttered up Blockbuster's shelves since the days of Betamax.

But what really sinks it, what really annoys, is the jokey self-referencing. Lines of dialogue like "This is like a scene from a ****ty horror movie" only work when they're in a really good horror movie. Wes Craven's Scream can get aware with self-deprecating knowing winks to the audience because it's a quality piece of work; Hack! can't because when the girl says "this is like a scene from a ****ty horror movie" the audience is sitting there muttering "Amen, sister: that's because this IS a scene from a ****ty horror movie." What's the name of their film studies professor? Mr Argento. Namechecking horror directors in such an obvious way is a lame injoke that's been running for decades and no-one - absolutely no-one - is going to be adding Matt Flynn to that namecheck roster any time soon. Not only do they reference Jaws with the line "we're going to need a bigger boat" but they name the boat Orca.

And all this swapping of horror film references does is to show how many movies Matt Flynn has seen. But he clearly hasn't learned anything from them because even the worst of the quoted titles (Rob Zombie's atrocious House Of 1000 Corpses) is more interesting than Hack!. Couple this with the range of cardboard morons wheeled onto screen only to be gorily despatched, and the result is a dull, stupid, utterly ordinary slasher flick, and not a fraction as clever-clever as it thinks it is.


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