Main cast: Cheryl Texiera (Dr Ellen Freese), Ben Browder (Rick Paxton), Brian Thompson (John Singer), Shosana Bush (Bridgette Powers), Brian Landis Folkins (Danny Kent), Matt Riedy (Roger Brannan), Max Decker (Cooper Barnes), Hutch Dano (Justin Johnson), Schuyler Denham (Peter Moore), and Adrienne Barbeau (Wilma)
Director: Matt Allen
Hoax is an odd movie. It boasts some pretty impressive genre actors for a movie of a budget this small. There’s that fellow from Farscape and Stargate: SG-1, for one, although Ben Browder seemed content to slum in some of the worst B-grade flicks ever since his stint on those shows, so I’m not sure whether having his name on the credits is something to boast about. Brian Thompson was in some great cult classics as well as the early seasons of The X-Files, while serious horror fans will of course know whom Adrienne Barbeau is. There’s also that dude from Zombeavers, but… okay, let’s just move on.
Basically, this is a killer big foot movie. A bunch of campers that ran off into the woods only to have sex are slaughtered early in the movie. While the authorities are convinced that these deaths were the result of a bear attack, producer Rick Paxton sees this chance as a way to finally validate his much-ridiculed conviction that Hairy McSlaughterballs is out there in the woods… waiting to kill more campers. He assembles a crew comprising of experts along with the usual TV crew and a reporter tagging along for good measure. Well, let the slaughter begins…
Okay, hold that thought. There is actually little slaughter and gore, not something one would expect from a movie of this sort. I wish I can say that the movie offers good character drama as a substitute, but that’s sadly not it. Only one character has any semblance of a back story—Dr Ellen Freese, who takes the job because she’s had a lot of bills that need to be paid. Well, guess who is going to outlast practically everyone else in this movie. Ben Browder’s Rick Paxton is predictably enough the asshole, but he and the rest are just here taking up precious screen time by being as obnoxious and stupid as can be.
Hence, this movie is made up of way too many scenes of annoying people being as unlikable as can be. I’m not sure why this is so, but Hoax ends up being one of the many recent horror movies that believe that the main characters need to as dumb and off-putting as possible. It’s not like the characters are a contrived way to get me to root for their deaths either, because this movie is conscious about how, in the end, its villain is just some guy in a cheap-looking, very fake costume. Hence it tries to avoid showing that thing as much as possible. People that really want to see the AliExpress-quality monster costume will have to endure the movie until its very end, and even then, I have my doubts that the sight is worth the wait and the pain.
Also, the movie tries to introduce some last-minute twists and turns, but frankly, the badly-paced nature of the movie makes it seem like these twists are pulled out of rear ends and unceremoniously dumped onto the last act.
So yes, this movie assembled a cast that would intrigue fans of genre films, only to squander these cast members on a film that seems determined to do everything but be a proper horror film. I’m not sure whether this movie is just a grave misstep or just a troll effort from everyone involved in it for money laundering purposes, but in the end, Hoax lives up to its title in so many unfortunate ways. People wanting fun and trashy killer Bigfoot movies may be better off looking for a copy of the 1980 film Night of the Demon instead.