Thursday, June 22, 2017

Lake Nowhere - review

Lake Nowhere reminds me of a condensed version of the Grindhouse movie.  It perfectly delivers the ambiance of an old VHS 80s tape, complete with faux beer commercials and mock movie trailers.  Out of all the retro-slasher revival movies Ive seen I believe this one is the best looking of the bunch; the sounds and visuals are all top notch and will evoke memories of renting VHS tapes from a local mom and pop store.  For me one of the best places to rent horror movies was the grocery store Big M.  They only carried B-movie titles but I never gave a shit; kind of ironic that the horror movie section was right by the butcher shop.  You could pick out The Mutilator to watch and a pack of luncheon meat at the same time; thats service. 

The story is as bare bones as possible, focusing more on style than substance.  The movie follows a group of vacationers partying in a cabin by a nameless lake, Lake Nowhere.  One of the partiers stumbles upon a graveyard in the woods, and reads the inscription off one of the tombstones out loud.  This seems to evoke the evil spirits of the lake, much like the Evil Dead, and the stalk and slash fun begins.

The killer is unique looking, the close-ups to his face are creepy and slightly off putting as it looks like his eyes are upside down.  His mask is made out of tree bark giving him a naturalistic camouflaged look, almost like a ghilie suit.    The whistling air accompanying these close-up shots was a nice effect as well, the washed out colors of the movie leave an impression of  fall like chill.  The unnamed killer is large and deliberate moving, much like Jason.  If anything this movie could be the love child of Friday the 13th and Evil Dead.  It wears these influences proudly on its sleeve and manages to exude the same atmosphere of dread in its short 1 hour timespan.  The setup is quick and the filler is mercifully brief. 

Many shots in this film are very well framed, and it doesnt skimp on the booze, boobs, and blood.  There are a few quick hack edits overlaying other VHS-quality images or sequences into the film, creating the feel of a bootleg tape.  The acting is appropriately and deliberately campy, but not so over the top as to interfere with the horror elements of the movie.  There is even a zombie thrown in for good measure.  The blood seems to resemble the brightly colored corn syrup used in many basement budget horror productions from the 80s; perfectly contrasting the dark wood grain lighting of the set.  The ending is purposely open ended, but powerful in its imagery and delivery; it doesnt get undercut by the campiness before, taking on a rather ominous dark tone that fit perfectly for the send-off.  There is a funny subversion to the final girl element as well.  There was a lot of 80s VHS slasher love behind this one.  Definite recommendation for the retro-slash-head; I am very glad to finally be able to watch this little gem.  Hell I thought the mock trailers were more entertaining and had more charm than some full feature movies.