If there has ever been a movie that paid more respect to the horror genre, I have not seen it. Tongue in cheek yet respectful, Hack is completed saturated with direct references and subtle nuances that pay homage to the great movies in horror while still developing a few interesting twists and a great combination of blood and gore.
After a foreboding intro that feels like the opening scene of the original A Nightmare on Elm Street, a group of stereotypical college kids board a boat headed for a secluded island in order to participate in a marine-biology extra credit project. The island's owners, a pair of horror film fanatics, welcome the group with open arms as long as they participate in a little obsessive filming.
Purposefully satirical, the cast fills out in a color-by-the-numbers fashion: obnoxious jock, bookworm girl with pigtails (Danica McKellar - Winnie Cooper), gaysian male, token black dude, druggie chick, creepy boat captain (Burt Young - Paulie from Rocky), a random small-town sheriff (Tony Burton - Duke from Rocky), and an incredibly hot foreign exchange student whose amazing breasts desire fresh air and freedom more than a death row inmate. Add in William Forsythe as an inhabitant of the island, Sean Kanan (The Karate Kid Part III) as the rich owner of the island, and a quick cameo from Kane Hodder - one of the men who have played Jason Voorhees - and you have a cast tailor-made for a horror movie parody.
No less than amazing, the depth to which respect is paid to the horror genre is unparalleled. Gratuitous nudity, ridiculous fireside conversations, people getting "lost", search groups splitting up to "cover more ground", no cellphone coverage, all the kids' hormones rival that of adult film starlets, the house phone gets disconnected, and every other cliché that can be imagined is present. More than one character even acknowledges that it all feels like a typically cheesy movie (they all but stare into the camera). The characters engage in perpetual discussions about great horror flicks, rattling off greats like Friday the 13th, The Birds , Nosferatu, Frankenstein, Psycho, and Hellraiser, just to name a few. Several scenes are filmed with an old 8MM feel; others underwater as if lifted directly from Jaws; one is a tribute to The Ring; the class instructor is named Mr. Argento, and another is named Mary Shelley. The references are the true accomplishment, and half of the enjoyment in watching is attempting to recognize each to the references to the classics.
Titled Hack as a double entendre, the reference is to both the mutilation at the hands of psychopaths, but also a shot at how pathetically lazy the majority of contemporary horror has become (staring at you torture porn). The tongue in cheek nature is fun at times, and acidic at others; true horror fans will be able to detach one from the other.
For general movie fans, this is a solid addition and worth at least one viewing. For true horror fans, this is a town-hall get together where we are each allowed to insert our favorite scene into the plot.