A class trip to an island turns into a nightmare as the college students hoping for a high grade to boost their GPA fall prey to their hosts, a married couple, obsessed film buffs, who record those they murder in ways associated with horror movies.
This, at first, appears to be just another formula slasher. You have a check list of stereotypes that normally appear in slashers and can pretty much mark an X by the characters who will die as the film continues. But, what sets it apart from the fray of the usual is the wicked sense of humor, expert casting of genre veterans, and some perverse acts by a bizarre couple of psychos. But, also important is that HACK! actually plays against norm in that a guy actually is the one at the end fleeing from killers. And, a specific twist regarding a third(..and possibly fourth)party perhaps involved with the psychotic duo certainly adds to the terror for our hero, Jay Kenneth Johnson(..as the hunk Johnny)as he must find a way out a very sticky situation as his friends are dead and his options of escape are limited. Danica McKellar(..the cutie from Wonder Years)is "nerded" up as the unflappable, scholarly Emily, but we all know that a pair of glasses and braided hair can not mask the babe underneath the disguise. Emily is google-eyed for Johnny, who, in a change of pace for a slasher film, actually takes up for her when fellow classmates poke fun at her supposed dorky nature..yet, Johnny is still able to gain rapport with his fellow students because he's just a cool dude. The rest of cast are merely supplying cultural stereotypes bound for violent death..a dumb, impolite jock quarterback needing a high grade to make his football team, a sexpot, a foul-mouthed, weed-smoking skank, an Asian homosexual whose sexual orientation is the butt of many jokes and gags, and the token black character who supplies the pot, talks ghetto and is always trying to dial up someone on his cellphone that doesn't work(..imagine that). Most of these characters service the film as victims running through the island woods as the predators give chase. There's a dungeon the loonies have, a chamber of horrors where destroyed victims, grisly corpses, are used as set-pieces for memorable images in movies like Hellraiser & Texas Chainsaw Massacre, and one captured character is held in a large bird cage over a piranha-infested water hole!
Surprising number of recognizable faces pop up in minor parts such as Kane Hodder(..as the opening victim trying to escape from his pursuers), Burt Young(..as a crusty boat captain who takes the crew to the island), Tony Burton(..as nervous Sheriff Stoker, who worries that something dire has happened to the kids when they don't return;he has a scene with ROCKY co-star Burt Young which might bring a grin to fans' faces), William Forsythe(..as a gruff Irish island fisherman who attempts to save the day, and has some memorable exchanges with the psychos), and Lochlyn Munro(..as Burton's moronic deputy). Lots of in-jokes such as the names of the crazies, Vincent King(Sean Kanan, whose chiseled features and clean-cut looks adds a unique dimension to his nutcase)and Mary Shelley(Juliet Landau;who's always obviously a bit weird, her camera by her side at all times ready to record even the most mundane occurrences for a "new movie"). Even the professor, who is to chaperon the students, is named Mr. Argento(..nice!). There also an abundance of references to horror classics and iconic characters popping up in the dialogue. This is made by filmmakers who love the genre and try to express that in as many ways as possible. The violence derives from an ax, hand gun(..rarely a weapon used in horror) shot gun(..makes a real bloody mess of a victim's skull), thrown loose brick, a well(..the homage to The Grudge is quite an eye-opener), clown's hammer(!), chainsaw, and a spinning saw blade(..decapitating a bound person's leg as he screams in horror). A thrown saw blade decapitates a victim whose leaning up against a tree. Lots of gore and viscera. Gabrielle Richens as Sylvia, a foreign exchange student lusting for the quarterback, is quite a looker. Once McKellar is able to shed her geeky disguise..yummy. Slasher fans might embrace this one..it's dark heart is in the right place.