Wednesday, August 24, 2016

Lake Nowhere [2015]


Over the last few years, throwbacks, retros, homages, call them what you will, are kinda sorta the new found footage of horror.  And it's no surprise since the sub-genre has had its share of fairly successful installments, HOUSE OF THE DEVIL (2009), V/H/S (2012-2014), and THE EDITOR (2014) to name just a few.  But most can't hold a candle to the good ones, and stack up even worse than the actual 35 year old films they're trying to nod to.  But LAKE NOWHERE should be proud to land somewhere in the middle.

A group of 20-somethings arrive at a family cottage for some weekend R&R and B&B (boozin' and bangin').  It isn't long before one friend goes skinny dippin', a second hangs a clothesline, a couple play around with a revolver, and another discovers an oddly placed cemetery where one read-aloud epitaph invokes a savage mask-wearing lake demon.  Drinks are drank, tokes are toked, kids are killed and we all get to see the most instantly-legendary party game involving only a brown paper bag.

Filmmakers Christopher Phelps and Maxim Van Scoy hit the 80's slasher formula nail right on the head.  From the synth score, ensemble cast, respectable body count, blood in buckets, and various bladed murder weapons to the premarital sex and inability to escape an out-runnable masked killer.  Equally impressive were their disinterest in heavily leaning on satirical humor or trying to overcorrect the typical slasher misgivings.

LAKE NOWHERE isn't without flaws.  The killer is laughably amateurish looking and almost non-scary and it's kills are uninspiringly unoriginal, although violent and bloody enough.  But what do you expect on a 1 paycheck budget, shot over 6 days with friends and family?!?!

LAKE NOWHERE isn't for every horror fan, hell, it isn't even for every slasher fan.  But there's a handful that will fall in love with this little engine that could.  And hopefully those few will be enough to give Phelps and Van Scoy the resources for a feature-length debut.


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