Interview-Review: Incident at Loch Ness (2004) – A Mockumentary about Werner Herzog Documentaries and the Loch Ness Monster

incident-at-loch-ness-original
Tell us a little bit about Incident at Loch Ness. What’s this movie about?
Incident at Loch Ness is a mockumentary, a faux documentary, in which a filmmaker wants to make a documentary about Werner Herzog. So Werner Herzog plays himself in this film and he’s followed around by this crew at all times, as he’s working on his latest (fictional) project about the Loch Ness monster. They go to Scotland to film some stories about the monster and Herzog has already made up his mind that the monster doesn’t exist obviously, but *spoilers*: He’s wrong. 

The conflict comes from the fact that Herzog is doing this film with a Hollywood producer, who doesn’t have the same ideas or work ethic as he does. That’s also where a lot of the comedy comes from. Like this producer guy Zak Penn (who also directed this film actually) he wants everyone to wear grey jumpsuits like they’re Ghostbusters or something and then he hires this Playboy Playmate Kitana Baker as a sonar expert or whatever. I’d say this is an adventure/comedy/horror film. It’s also about Werner Herzog as a filmmaker and it sometimes makes fun of him, but of course in a loving way.

What did you like about this movie?
Well, of course being a big Werner Herzog fan this was great. There’s a scene where they’re supposedly filming at his house in California. It’s just this dinner party scene, but it looks kind of authentic, like they’re really at his house. They shot some of the scenes in LA, so it’s entirely possible, because you see like real German beer, like they have Erdinger glasses and Franziskaner Weissbier and their eating these weird South American roots, that are supposedly poisonous if they’re not properly cooked.

I don’t know what you’re talking about…
Oh, those are two German premium beer brands. I love those too by the way.

No, maybe I wasn’t clear. I don’t really care about that, so…
Okay, well in any case… What was I saying? Yeah, I mean so it really looks like a day in the life of Werner Herzog. Oh, and then Jeff Goldblum randomly shows up at his house. It’s so funny! There’s also this guy Gabriel Beristain, the cinematographer, who shows up at his house dressed up as Fitzcarraldo: It’s hilarious. They also manage to get Russell Williams II, Academy Award winning sound guy on board. And everyone’s playing themselves, but the acting is pretty consistent and good overall.

Okay, sure whatever. What didn’t you like?
I mean, I realize documentaries, or I should say shaky-cam/found footage films, aren’t supposed to look like Christopher Doyle films, by any stretch, but I didn’t like the look of Incident at Loch Ness. It is my understanding that it was shot on digital cameras, which I guess weren’t as good ten years ago, but maybe I just got a bad copy of this film. Who knows?

In any case the editing was a bit of a problem sometimes: It could have been a bit brisker and quicker especially, because this is obviously meant to be a thrilling film and inter-cutting interviews and “real” footage didn’t always work so well for me. It’s also a bit “low stakes” when you know that all the main characters are going to survive…

I see, let’s move on, because you’re pretty boring yourself. Who do you recommend this film to?
I think if you’re a Werner Herzog fan you have to see it. I mean the premise alone is genius and there’s no other fictional movie where he plays the leading role, so definitely check it out if you’re into his work. I also think that fans of the whole mockumenatry/found footage/shaky cam film movement should see this, because this was done before the sub-genre exploded. I mean granted this isn’t the first of those or anything, there was The Blair Witch Project (1999) and before that there was Cannibal Holocaust (1980), although purists don’t really count that one.

Anyway, this film was made before the whole Paranormal Activity craze, and so I think it works for that reason, because it’s not trying to cash-in on this gimmick. This particular stylistic choice also makes sense, because Herzog is a documentarian himself, so that’s another level of meta right there. Another reason… I mean if you’re into conspiracy theories at all or of course if you’re interested in the myth of the Loch Ness monster. Or, hey, if you want to see Werner Herzog shoot the Loch Ness monster with a flare gun! Yeah, that happens. I’m telling you this is a funny movie, there’s a little bit for everyone in there.

Very cool.
Indeed.

What?
What?

No, I said “very cool”.
I know.

Don’t you want to know why I said that?
Hmm… Okay, sure. Why did you say that?

Because I hope that Loch Ness monster is real and he fucking eats you alive, motherfucker! Die motherfucker! Die!
Wow.

Any closing thoughts, biatch?
No… Watch this movie… Fuck you!

And with that we’re out: Good night and good luck!
What does that have to do with anything?

Shut up… Biatch.
I…

No! …Biatch.

7 out of 10

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7 comments

    • Davide Perretta

      Haha! Yeah, in a way I guess I do 🙂
      I hear ya, it’s not exactly for everyone. My brother can’t watch them either. I once saw one in a theater (Cloverfield) and was nearly sick, but then I was also eating nachos lol

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