Sometimes you just need a triple feature of popcorn flicks loaded with boys, babes, and blood. These three films did the trick….
Coming a little over a decade after the Scream craze started, Hack! may seem totally derivative with its endless movie references, but the fact is, this is actually a meta meta slasher, if such a thing exists. The whole point of the film is that there are no new original ideas left, so even a psycho killer becomes a hack, mimicking kills from all the classics—and by classics, I mean contemporary stuff (in 2007) like The Ring, Saw, and the Thirteen Ghosts remake. Awesome.
Kicking things off, Kane Hodder is chased by a killer through the woods. Sure, it has no bearing on the plot, but hey, it’s Jason being chased by a killer! Meta mix up to the max!
SPECIAL APPEARANCE BY KANE HEADER…
It so happens Kane was killed on a remote island where a group of college students, including little Winnie Cooper of The Wonder Years all grown up, comes for a biology field trip.
There are plenty of familiar faces in the film, including Juliet “Drusilla” Landau of Buffy/Angel. This pic is not from Buffy or Angel. Really, it’s not.
Hack! has everything you want in a post-Scream slasher – sex, boobs, likable kids, sleek and gory kills, adolescent humor and campy nods to horror movies, and a comical, blood splattered finale.
Adding to the fun is a gay character played by Justin Chon (Twilight saga, Detention of the Dead). He has a funny scene in the woods in which he begins singing and dancing to the theme to Fame (Irene Cara’s song is actually used) to calm his fears.
He also has a notably flirtatious relationship with the dumb jock, played by cutie Travis Schuldt (The Boy Next Door, The Hitcher remake). And thanks to the gay guy, a bet on the beach that Schuldt loses requires him to run into the water in his “jockstrap.”
THE OPEN DOOR (2008)
An opening mass killing scene around a dinner table and a long title card explanation about a rash of murder/suicides each full moon creates a pretty big setup for what waters down to a simple teen horror flick.
There’s this main girl, and she likes a boy in school. After having an argument with her annoying as fuck mother, who seems to have a big problem with her acting just like a teenager, she’s grounded, so she can’t go a party with all her friends. When one of her BFF texts her a pic of the boy she likes making out with another girl, she furiously calls a pirate radio show that is rumored to magically grant wishes. She spits out a laundry list of wishes that are really going to ruin her friends’ night.
Conveniently, the friends all decide to leave the party to come to her house to play a prank on her. Pretty soon, The Open Door basically becomes Night of the Demons in a kitchen.
Seriously, everyone stands around the kitchen (naturally), and each time someone suddenly becomes “possessed,” the others have to battle them to the death.
Sure, that kitchen segment – which pretty much features all the horror action right to the end – is fun, but it’s hard to fathom that a “demon” movie wouldn’t pace the horror throughout the running time. I felt really cheated that it was all over so fast.
Even more disappointing is that there’s this disturbingly made up mannequin head the main girl sees in her attic, which is frightening enough as is.
Then the damn head turns into a live demon in a nightmare the main girl has. EEK!
Unfortunately, the mannequin demon never materializes as an actual threat to the cast! WTF? That freak could have made this okay film a winner. Sure, it wouldn’t have made any sense, but neither does the rest of the movie.
RED HOOK (2009)
This odd little indie is just quirky enough to hold your attention despite it taking a while for the horror to kick in. It kind of reminds me of Cry_Wolf in that way. The cast of virtual unknowns is quite good, plus Terrence Mann, aka: Ug of the Critters franchise, is featured in a small role as a detective.
Our main girl, who is kind of like a mash-up of Toni Collette and Anna Kendrick, saw her sister murdered when she was a child. She suffers from agoraphobia as a result, so…she heads to New York University for college!
Yes, I know. How could someone with agoraphobia go to school, let alone in New York City? It makes no sense. Makes even less sense when she witnesses a shooting in a convenience store and still pulls out quick enough to join in on a citywide scavenger hunt!
The first part of the film feels more like a typical teen flick, complete with playful banter and our main girl scoring a love interest, so we really get to know the cast of likable kids.
It’s when they take part in the scavenger hunt that the kills start (40 minutes into the film). Someone in a mask and gray hoodie begins taking them out one by one.
In classic slasher fashion, this killer strictly uses a knife. The stabbings are brutal and modestly gory, giving Red Hook a very traditional feel.
While the kills are spaced a bit too far apart at first, once the kids realize they’re ranks have gone missing, the bodies begin to turn up during the scavenger hunt, and there are some fun suspense scenes and encounters with the killer, leading to a denouement in the tradition of Scream era slashers.