Hack! (2007)



Full confession, teenage Mister Joshua had a crazy crush on Winnie Cooper from The Wonder Years and by proxy the actress that played Miss Cooper, Danica McKellar. Since The Wonder Years ended (and who else was really sad to find out the dad died of a heart attack and Wayne was left to run the business?) Ms. McKellar has foregone the Hollywood scene and developed into somewhat of a math genius, of all things. Her film credits have been few and far between since she left on that plane for Paris, leaving Kevin Arnold to his own devices. So imagine my surprise when I stumbled upon this little horror film starring none other than the a fore mentioned Ms. Mckellar.

Danica plays Emily, a young teachers assistant who along with her teacher, Mr. Argento (more on that later) offers a field trip for struggling biology students. The trip takes the six students, their TA and teacher to a deserted island inhabited by creepy amateur film makers Mary Shelley (Juliet Landau) and her husband Vincent King (Sean Kanan). Typical horror movie shenanigans ensue. The kids teacher conveniently disappears. They get high and drunk, they have sex. They start getting killed one by one. William Forsythe shows up as groundskeeper Willie, complete with a (bad) Scottish accent, in a naive attempt to save the day. There are three or four very predictable turns, before we are left with either a bad self aware slasher film, or a horrible parity film.

Hack! as a film that (I think) is meant to be taken tongue in cheek. The problem is not that it's self aware (it is) or not that it ventures into parity territory (it does), it's that it's really bad at both of those things. Clearly the film makers are fans of horror films. Characters sport names like the previously mentioned "Mr. Argento" and "Mary Shelly." Joining them are "Sheriff Stoker," "T.J. Bates" and dozens of other named dropped horror luminaries. Half the dialogue is lifted from other features. While piling on the boat someone cleverly quips "We're gonna need a bigger boat." Except it's not clever. It's cute the first time it happens. It's annoying by the 30th, and maddening by the end of the film.

The film not only boasts some of the most hackneyed dialogue you can imagine, it's also filled with more D-List level cameos than the new season of Dancing With The Stars. You get Kane Hodder as a pre-credits victim. Burt Young and Tony Burton in a mini Rocky reunion. If only they cold have found the robot from Rocky IV, that would have been something. Freddy v. Jason vet Lochlyn Munro shows up as Deputy Radley (clever huh?). Even Survivor winner Jenna Morasca is there in a "don't blink or you'll miss her" role as the jock Tim's girlfriend. Even the brilliant talents of Jenna Morasca cannot save this epic disaster.

The regular cast is serviceable. Danica does fine essentially playing Winnie Cooper for the first three quarters of the film. But she really doesn't look like she's having any fun until (spoiler alert, I guess) she turns to the dark side. The other parts of the cannon fodder cast are acceptable in their stereotypical, one note roles. Buffy fans will be happy to know that Juliet Landau plays this role just as she would had the character been named Drusilla. The highlight of the film just might be Twilights Justin Chon, playing the way over the top gay Asian stereotype, singing the theme song from "Fame" just before he's offed.

Made for an astonishing 2 million dollars, meaning someone actually read this script and green lit the film with a two million dollar budget, Hack! is a mess. Unoriginal and uninspired, you would be much better served re-watching any of the Scream films (yes, even Scream 3 is far better than this) or the Scary Movie franchise. Please avoid Hack! at all costs. I can't believe Winnie Cooper would lead me down such a terrible path.

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