UNITED KINGDOM – 2007 – 94 MIN – COLOUR - FEATURE - IN ENGLISH
A FILM BY ZAK PENN
FEATURING WERNER HERZOG, ZAC PENN, KITANA BAKER, GABRIEL BERISTAIN, MICHEAL KARNOW, JOHN BAILEY, ROBERT O'MEARA AND JEFF GOLDBLUMY
In the Summer of 2003, acclaimed filmmaker Werner Herzog set out to make a documentary about Scotland's infamous Loch Ness, purported home of a prehistoric creature known as "Nessie." Herzog's stated intent was "to explore the origin and the necessity of the monster" rather than to look for the creature itself. The film was to be called "Enigma of Loch Ness."
￼At the time Herzog began production, noted cinematographer and filmmaker John Bailey was already directing a documentary about him, tentatively called "Herzog in Wonderland." This would not be the first time that Herzog would be profiled while making a film, but it would perhaps be the last.
What neither Bailey nor Herzog could have predicted is that “Enigma of Loch Ness” would never be completed. The chaos that had followed Herzog on his other epic quests would follow him to Loch Ness. The production ground to a halt after a boating accident just weeks into shooting. Charge of mismanagement, and even criminally negligent behavior, were leveled in multiple directions. For the first time in his career, Herzog would shut a film down for good.
In the fall of 2003, the unfinished "Enigma of Loch Ness" was combined with the footage John Bailey had shot for "Herzog in Wonderland." The resulting film, INCIDENT AT LOCH NESS, was completed by editors Howard Smith and Abby Shwarzwalder, but due to numerous pending lawsuits, the credits for that film remain undecided.
￼In the ensuing legal fracas, a series of startling film clips made their way onto the internet. The footage was purported to be the clearest ever taken of the elusive monster, but it was accompanied by claims of a hoax. The answer as to the origin and validity of these clips remain unclear.
INCIDENT AT LOCH NESS chronicles the story of the making (and unmaking) of Herzog's film, as well as the aftermath of that fateful effort. Shocking, controversial, and strangely humorous, the film raises many questions about where reality ends and fiction begins. It is also the portrait of a great adventurer on his most bizarre and tragic quest.
"It's Lost In La Mancha meets The Blair Witch Project, only funnier."
- NOW MAGAZINE (★★★★★!)
"Mock doc in the Loch makes Herzog look normal".
- THE TORONTO STAR
"Punk'd by the Loch Ness monster".
- TORONTO SUN
"Herzog has astounded critics by creating an apparently straightforward documentary that transforms into something closer to a psychological horror movie every bit as complex and compelling as the myth itself."
- THE SCOTSMAN
"Herzog’s own films often blurs the borders between fact and fiction and here, when he’s stuck somewhere in between, he seems to be enjoying himself tremendously. "
- eFILM CRITIC
"...a double-edged whoopee cushion"
- THE VILLAGE VOICE
"shuffling fact and fiction in a manner meant to confound and provoke, though the film functions best as a light satire on the filmmaking process."
- NEW YORK TIMES
"Possibly the bravest, most daring and original cinematic experience of the year."
"Razor sharp and funny as hell, Incident at Loch Ness is the harpoon hurled into the hot-air balloon of 'reality' entertainment."
- L.A. WEEKLY
"...a documentary-style project,shot for just $1.4 million, about film legend Werner Herzog making a film about the Loch Ness monster. But things aren't exactly as they seem"
- INDIEWIRE REVIEW