Incident at Loch Ness

Critics Consensus

Incident at Loch Ness will undoubtedly be of greatest interest to Herzog fans, but for those in on the inside jokes, it delivers on its weirdly unique premise.



Total Count: 48


Audience Score

User Ratings: 3,932
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Movie Info

This farcical send-up of Werner Herzog's style of filmmaking is composed of a series of shorter films within the film, all dedicated to the legend of the Loch Ness monster.

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Critic Reviews for Incident at Loch Ness

All Critics (48) | Top Critics (18)

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

    Dec 3, 2004 | Rating: 3/5
  • We realize with increasing dismay that Loch Ness is a movie about the bald, weaselly Penn and not about Herzog at all.

    Nov 29, 2004 | Full Review…
  • 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.

    Nov 5, 2004 | Rating: 3/4 | Full Review…
  • 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?

    Oct 22, 2004 | Rating: 3/4 | Full Review…
  • 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.

    Oct 13, 2004
  • The moviemaking in-jokes are often terrifically funny.

    Oct 8, 2004 | Rating: 3/4 | Full Review…

    Ty Burr

    Boston Globe
    Top Critic

Audience Reviews for Incident at Loch Ness

  • Dec 22, 2010
    7.2/10 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.
    Ryan M Super Reviewer
  • Mar 15, 2010
    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.
    Luke B Super Reviewer
  • Feb 15, 2010
    A farce involving the director I love to hate..Werner Herzog. Here Werner enjoys poking fun at his own efforts with an interesting cast of characters. The anti-documentary.
    John B Super Reviewer
  • Sep 25, 2008
    Interesting, and very original "MOCKUMENTARY" about the lochness monster. What makes this more interesting is Werner Herzog is on it!!
    Ivan D Super Reviewer

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