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Incident at Loch Ness (2004)



Average Rating: 5.7/10
Critic Reviews: 18
Fresh: 9 | Rotten: 9

No consensus yet.



liked it
Average Rating: 3.3/5
User Ratings: 3,886

My Rating

Movie Info

A handful of filmmakers looking for the fabled sea serpent of Loch Ness get a look at another sort of monster in this witty mock documentary. Under commission from producer and screenwriter Zak Penn, notoriously eccentric German filmmaker Werner Herzog travels to Scotland to shoot his latest film, a documentary called "The Enigma of Loch Ness" which examines the myth of the Loch Ness monster and its role in the collective unconsciousness of the Scottish people rather than attempting to capture


Documentary, Drama, Comedy, Special Interest

Mar 1, 2005

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All Critics (49) | Top Critics (19) | Fresh (29) | Rotten (18) | DVD (16)

[Penn's] oafish 'character' only manages a few guffaws and a handful of chuckles, and his movie is the same.

December 3, 2004 Full Review Source: Orlando Sentinel
Orlando Sentinel
Top Critic IconTop Critic

We realize with increasing dismay that Loch Ness is a movie about the bald, weaselly Penn and not about Herzog at all.

November 29, 2004 Full Review Source: Washington Post
Washington Post
Top Critic IconTop Critic

This is mandatory viewing for Herzog fans. It's an inside joke, but for those who get it, it's loose, funny and, in its own way, Herzogian.

November 5, 2004 Full Review Source: San Francisco Chronicle
San Francisco Chronicle
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Watching the movie is an entertaining exercise in forensic viewing, and the insidious thing is, even if it is a con, who is the conner and who is the connee?

October 22, 2004 Full Review Source: Chicago Sun-Times
Chicago Sun-Times
Top Critic IconTop Critic

While Herzog demonstrates here that he's a perfectly good sport, one can't help think that his time would be far better spent making more films rather than parodying himself in such inconsequential efforts as this.

October 13, 2004
Hollywood Reporter
Top Critic IconTop Critic

The moviemaking in-jokes are often terrifically funny.

October 8, 2004 Full Review Source: Boston Globe
Boston Globe
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Mildly comical for those familiar with (and fond of) adventurous German auteur Werner Herzog.

August 9, 2007 Full Review Source: Lessons of Darkness
Lessons of Darkness

Reaches only monumental levels of dumbness and lame comical moments.

October 3, 2006 Full Review Source: Ozus' World Movie Reviews
Ozus' World Movie Reviews

...Herzog and Penn don't challenge [the Loch Ness] myth. They are out to create their own. And they almost pull it off.

July 29, 2005 Full Review Source: PopMatters

A generally empty, if fitfully amusing, experience.

April 13, 2005 Full Review Source: Film Freak Central
Film Freak Central

Herzog se revela um convincente astro do gênero "ação/terror" neste filme que, além das muitas risadas, ainda oferece uma reveladora visão dos bastidores de Hollywood.

April 11, 2005
Cinema em Cena

We fall prey to a series of sleights-of-hand that keep us wondering what the joke is -- and more importantly, who's in on it.

April 1, 2005 Full Review Source: Freeze Dried Movies
Freeze Dried Movies

A truly original work, and a very cheeky one at that filled with end-to-end laughter. It plays off Herzog's own legend as a behind-the-camera wild card.

February 28, 2005 Full Review Source: Movie Views

While not quite on par with some other movies and mockumentaries about showbiz, Incident at Loch Ness is right up there with its head above water.

February 28, 2005 Full Review Source:

too much of a one-note concept to make the entertainment value lift much above lake level

January 26, 2005 Full Review Source:

Pathetic self-parody.

December 17, 2004 Full Review Source: Arizona Daily Star
Arizona Daily Star

In addition to being a funny movie about the movie business, it's a cheeky, ingenious motion picture puzzle.

December 10, 2004 Full Review Source: Oregonian

The movie has made us question anew our faith in 'reality' entertainment -- and visual representation in general.

December 9, 2004 Full Review Source: Orlando Weekly
Orlando Weekly

I hope this film is more widely viewed than I suspect it will be, because it is not only one of the funniest films of the year, but also asks questions about truth, half-truth and lies that are worth considering.

November 20, 2004 Full Review Source: San Diego Metropolitan
San Diego Metropolitan

Penn seems caught up in some sort of blogger/TV-cable vanity trip.

November 19, 2004 Full Review Source: San Diego Union-Tribune
San Diego Union-Tribune

An inevitable cinematic showdown, now that war against the media and Hollywood has pretty much been declared by documentaries.

November 2, 2004
Long Island Press

Highly amusing.

October 31, 2004 Full Review Source: Boxoffice Magazine
Boxoffice Magazine

Like Michael Moore Hates America, the real purpose of Incident at Loch Ness is to point out how documentarians manipulate the truth and, like MMHA, Incident at Loch Ness is very entertaining.

October 28, 2004 Full Review Source: St. Paul Pioneer Press
St. Paul Pioneer Press

Audience Reviews for Incident at Loch Ness

A surprisingly intelligent and well crafted satire of mockumentaries and documentaries. The inclusion of Herzog as himself is simply genius. Here is a man well educated and practiced in the world of films and documentaries, lampooning himself and his past to great effect. The line of "Differentiating between fact and truth" is a great one, filled with humor and genuine intrigue. The inclusion of Ricky Jay at the start also hints towards illusions and trickery. I found both the horror and comedy elements to work very well. The playboy sonar operator and the fake R/C monster were just two of the highlights. It was well thought out and feels real enough to pull you in. A rather wonderful surprise of a film for those willing to be taken on a ride.
March 15, 2010

Super Reviewer

Before you watch this film, you should be familiar with the documentaries of Werner Herzog, otherwise, a lot of the humour will be totally wasted on you. I thought it was really, really good, thoroughly enjoyable and very funny! On paper its really shouldn't have worked, a mockumentary of a documentary, brilliant!
October 2, 2009

Super Reviewer

If there's one thing I didn't think I would see Werner Herzog involved in, I guess it might very well be a mocumentary or fake documentary. I actually watched this film under the impression it was directed by Werner, but discovered at the credits it was directed by Zak Penn (who also starred as the producer in the fake doc that is the subject of the film) and co-produced by Werner (who also starred in the film as himself). If you can't already tell it's a rather hard film to explain, which I guess, when I think about it, makes it more sensible that Werner would be involved. Basically it's about Werner Herzog setting off on with producer Zak Penn and other professionals to Scotland to film a documentary about the Loch Ness myths, when they begin to encounter problems and eventually something much more extraordinary. The best description I've read about this film so far is that "it's the film the Blair Witch Project wanted to be", and that's pretty accurate. The reason this film works and is so entertaining is because it looks and feels like a real documentary, and thus it's that much more involving. I think if someone were to watch this not knowing it was a set-up, they may definitely think it was a real documentary to a point. It's because of that level of professionalism (no doubt inspired and caused by Herzog's involvement as actor and producer) that this film is able to do what other films like it have tried to do successfully, and in highly entertaining fashion.
December 8, 2007

Super Reviewer


I was obsessed with many things in my younger years of childhood. I was interested in Dinosaurs, the cryptic beings, and other things that lay beyond. I was also, at one time, obsessed with the potential existence of the Loch Ness Monster. My parents and friends alike denied the possibility. And over time, I too forgot about the beast. But somehow, somewhere; deep in my heart, Nessie still remains. Although there are those who are still in disbelief due to a lack of evidence, I support the case with the fact that there is also potential evidence. There are two sides to every mystery, and everyone seems to have one in this case. I have never known or met anyone who has ever seen what people think is "Nessie". I have heard of strange tales of other cryptic, lake-dwelling beings, but never that of Nessie. Nevertheless, I still believe that she's out there; swimming beneath still waters. "Incident at Loch Ness" is a mockumentary given to me from Heaven. It's as if Warner Herzog (the star) and Zak Penn (the director) took my dreams and turned them into a grim reality, or possibly even a nightmare. The fact that "Incident at Loch Ness" is entirely fictional is a sad one, although it's still fairly entertaining. It is not without its flaws; the film is only the incredibly entertaining fright-fest that it wants to be when the creature shows up and attacks the boat; but "Incident at Loch Ness" is sharp, well-made, and even quite funny. The fact that such a film can have a sense of humor is something that I find incredible. I also find it incredible that Herzog agreed to STAR in this film rather than DIRECT it as he always does. Herzog's performance makes me wonder if the man actually gives a damn about Nessie. He, much like the entire crew, is good in his performance. But then again, how can you screw something like this up? Even the most unlikable and stupid characters are nicely portrayed. The film is amusing; for as long as the scary fun chooses to last. I recommend it to anyone who has pursued Nessie's very existence. And if you like documentary/mockumentary films at all, then what the hell: I say go for it. This is not a film for everyone, but it's more intriguing than a hoax should be. And "Incident at Loch Ness" is most definitely a hoax. What proves interesting is finding that out as the film goes along at its ever-so-fast pace.

Werner Herzog and screen-writer Zak Penn want to shoot a documentary together. The subject is: The Loch Ness Monster. So after a dinner with some "surprise guests", the entire crew heads out to Scotland to shoot their production. Things turn bad easily, as Zak isn't the most honest guy and Herzog seems to have a problem with everything he is doing. Nothing really happens for a while, but then came a ripple and a large, black hump. This is the sort of infamous appearance that old Nessie seems to give off. And Herzog and his crew get to see her up close and personal. After the first sighting, things go from bad to nightmarish as Nessie appears to be attacking the boat from below. She consistently rams into the vessel, causing it to rock and causing people to fall over-board. And with an ominous mist surrounding them and no way to save themselves, the crew find themselves, as a fellow would say, "screwed". And they are indeed "screwed", thanks to a lack of resources and a giant reptile in the water. It would be easy to say that "Incident at Loch Ness" abruptly shifts from a comedy/drama/thriller to an all-out horror film, but that's not exactly the case. I do not think it is right to call this "horror". Perhaps "thrilling" will suffice as an extremely vague description. The plot gets more interesting as the monster attacks, but the conversations between the characters don't give any essence to why we should care about them. But then again, I wanted to see a damn monster. And I saw a damn monster. So there you go: "Incident at Loch Ness" is the best faux mockumentary to ever star a giant, aquatic Dinosaur. It will please just about anyone who sees it for what it is, although I do not imagine that many will truly "love it". It could have been better; I will admit that much. But then again, it's one of the best Loch Ness Monster-movies us obsessive fans will ever get. And the fact alone that somebody would want to answer our call is certainly admirable.

I do not know whether to call the efforts of the cast "performances". These are people who are playing themselves in a highly fictitious situation, although everyone does a surprisingly convincing job. Werner Herzog does well without giving us much true insight into his own being. Zak Penn himself isn't the most likable guy, and I wouldn't want him directing my movie, but hey; he sort of exists for comic relief (even when we don't want it). Everyone else seems to be filler, and in the end it feels like the "Werner Herzog Show". Perhaps that is what it is. And I'm fine with that. But what I find to be absolutely ingenious about the casting is that the "surprise guests" that I mention happen to be the likes of Jeff Goldblum and Ricky Jay. Brilliant!

Who needs the sentimental, kid-friendly approach to the legend of the Loch Ness Monster when you can turn it into a thriller? Herzog and his crew manage to catch some chilling (but fake) evidence that Nessie exists, and it sent true chills down my spine. There was one part I liked in particular, and that was in the end where Herzog is in the water, filming, and allows the monster to come right at him. I thought that the film should have ended right there. It would have left us to guess whether Zak and the rest of the gang truly survive. I would have liked this film to arouse more questions than it already does, but it still ends on a fairly decent note. At least we (sort of) know who's conning who. The mockumentary style of "Incident at Loch Ness" is very effective. This film had to be done this way, I feel, and I wouldn't have enjoyed it as much as a typically-shot work. The camera-work adds an atmosphere to the film, and I liked that a lot. The encounters feel more thrilling, exciting, and even frightening. It's not quite "Blair Witch" style filmmaking, but it makes use of the shaky-camera work to glorious effect. I recommend it to lovers of true atmosphere. All in all, it has an equal amount of winning style and substance. It could have done without a few things, but otherwise I'd call it "pretty darn good". After all: it's not disrespective of my beliefs.

Obsession is a frightening thing. It can lead us to do crazy stuff. Perhaps this film demonstrates obsession, but not in its most savage state. "Incident at Loch Ness" is the first GOOD Loch Ness Monster-themed film to be scary but not suck. Perhaps it is even the last. Most films based on the legend take the kid-friendly approach. I understand that since it is an old legend, but these sorts of films are minor, but much appreciated breaths of fresh air. Gulping it all down in one sitting is made fun and easy through thrills and all-around good filmmaking. I don't care if it is a hoax or not (which it is); I liked this film. It was a non-pretentious thriller, and for the most part it seemed to know what it was and where it was going. It could have been amazing if it hadn't been so damn boring in the beginning, but it gets real interesting as time goes on. It's a film that deserves your time, and you must be patient. If you are not, then you may write this one off completely. The reason why I don't is because I paid attention. This film not only got it, but it EARNED it. I saw it for some faux monster footage, and I got a good amount of that. The best thing is that it's fake, but doesn't feel as if it is. It takes a bold new venture in filmmaking to do that, and perhaps someday they will perfect the Nessie-inspired film. But for now, this is the best you are going to get.
December 22, 2010
Ryan M
Ryan Marshall

Super Reviewer

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