Monday, March 8, 2010

Mindless Movie Monday: Lake Dead

Recipe for Lake Dead:
Pre-heat oven to Wrong Turn. Mix together equal parts Motel Hell, The Hills Have Eyes (either varietal will do), and Deliverance. Now stir in a generous portion of The X-Files: Home (S4,Ep2).
Be sure to season with a bit of Eden Lake. Bake till Texas Chainsaw crisp and remove. Glaze with Timber Falls.

Seriously though...

When I sat down to watch my latest Netflix rental, I was just moments into it and I rolled my eyes and let out an exasperated sigh. No, not because it was that awful that quick (though it was). Because I felt like kicking myself in the head if that were possible. I'd seen part of it on SyFy (back when it was Sci-Fi!) one lazy Saturday night while perusing my options. I got about ten minutes into it and guffawed out loud, reached for the remote, and ended my distress.
However, seeing as how I was stupid enough not to remember I'd attempted it in the past - and didn't even recognize it from the Netflix synopsis - I figured I was doomed to finish it out.
Unfortunately this review will be no doubt peppered with harsh remarks, as it is asking a lot for me to find redeeming reasons to spend an hour and a half with this...flick. (Finding it hard to say "film" here...)

In almost all cases, the After Dark Horrorfest movies have been disappointments. I do happen to have a real appreciation for The Abandoned (2006) but not many others come to mind as being stellar examples of good horror. (And I couldn't even call The Abandoned stellar.)
That being said, Lake Dead (2007) is no different. Quite frankly, it is drivel.

Directed by first-timer George Bessudo, our esteemed motion picture begins with an elderly couple arguing in a motel lobby. The gent runs out, only to have a random five minute roadside showdown with a police officer who ends up shooting the guy dead.

We then quickly jump to the bed of Brielle Lake (Kelsey Crane), who receives a phone call from her estranged father. Apparently her grandfather (whom she has never met and wasn't even made aware of) has died and she and her sisters are to attend the funeral. Before going to the service, Brielle finds out the grandfather has willed them his motel up in "the country", so she heads to her sister Sam's place to give her the news and invite her to go along with her and her fiance to check the place out and decide what to do with it.

(The Russian bride of your choice comes with built in stupidity meter.)

Samantha (Tara Gerard) is a foul-mouthed, drunken slut (always have to have one of those, right?) who leaks curse words at five second intervals and prances around her scummy apartment half dressed. Intrigued by the tale of the motel, she agrees to meet them at the motel to check it out, but doesn't show for the funeral.
At said funeral, Dad warns Brielle - now joined by remaining sis Kelli - not to go to the motel.
[Aye! Ye've been warned, mateys!]
Father-slapping ensues, feelings are hurt, and the sisters head off upstate with Brielle's fiance Ben (Jim Devoti, looking a bit like that dude from Desperate Housewives) and a few other victims...oh, sorry...friends.

Here's where we digress into The Hills Have Eyes territory. The group travels there in a camper, and once at the motel, are shocked (!) to find out Sam hasn't made it there yet.
Why, you ask, hasn't Sam arrived?
Because while the others are still at home gearing up, Sam has driven ahead, checked into the motel, began a drinking binge, and was ergo brutally attacked by two backwoods inbred-types who broke into her room.

(So that's what happened to the Geico cavemen...)

These pillars of society find it necessary to ram a long hollow metal pipe through both Sam's ankles at the achilles tendons and guide a chain through said pipe, only to put her into a boat and tie the chain around a huge cement block. They then hurl her into the water so that she is floating under the water in a macabre manner. Hmm...
Wouldn't it have just been easier to just shoot her and weigh her down with the block? Or just dump her in the woods? Or bury her? Why go to all the trouble of the pipe and chains? Why make such a mess of the motel room? Why suspend her underwater at all? Why, why, why?

Cut back to the conversation at the motel check-in. Brielle, Kelli (Kelsey Wedeen), and the others are told about the 'simply wonderful' camping in this area. OH! And there's a lake! The beyond- accomodating motel clerk Gloria (Pat McNeely) points all these things out and seems genuinely caring. Which of course, we already know she isn't, because she was the old woman at the start of the film.
Naturally, because this is "Lake Dead" after all, the group first takes a swim - without noticing Samantha floating just under the surface.

(Nope, no dead people...but hey! There's your wallet!)

Then they proceed to set up camp, and Ben's friend Bill (Alex A. Quinn) promptly starts hitting on Kelli's friend Tanya (Malea Richardson), who started the flirt fest with him on the trip up.

(Believe me, you're not going to care when they get offed.)

This of course pisses off Bill's girlfriend Amy (Vanessa Viola) - but not enough to stop him from going off to have sex gather firewood with Tanya.
While shining in the afterglow of their forbidden romp, they are greeted by the aforementioned inbreds and all manner of chaos ensues.
Or - Bill and Tanya get killed.

(Yeah, that's never been done before...)

Back at the campsite, all are concerned that the devilish duo have not returned, so Ben and Kelli go searching. They find Bill, dead and strung up in a tree and run back to camp, only to be attacked by the inbreds. Amy runs off, soon to be raped and killed in the woods. Another shocker.
Strangely enough, the freaky Wrong Turn-esque brothers have a bizarre penchant for grabbing their 'prey' by the face, covering their mouths with one hand and then pinching the victim's nostrils shut with the other. They don't even do it long enough for the victim to lose consciousness. Could someone please tell me what this accomplishes, besides cutting off their air for a few moments? I mean, are they going for a dive? Curing hiccups? What?

Ben, Brielle, and Kelli manage to escape and are intercepted by a police officer who agrees to help them but instead takes them back to the motel office where Gloria makes them some lovely tea which knocks them all out. Tea from strangers? How about no thanks.

Much to my chagrin (slight pause for sarcasm here) ... the cop is involved in a scheme with the motel clerk to get Brielle and Kelli back to the motel and joined up in the fun family activity of incest with intent of procreation. The motel clerk is actually the girl's grandmother and the cop their uncle. The man killed by the cop in the beginning is the grandfather of Brielle, Kelli and Sam. He'd apparently had enough with the Deliverance-style dynasty but couldn't get away with his life.

Why do I spoil this revelation for you? Because you're going to see it coming a mile away anyway. There are a few really repulsive moments in this part of the movie, with mother and son showing a mutual admiration for each other that just makes me throw up in my mouth a little.

Ah, but what happens? Do the sisters escape? Or do they agree to carry on the family tradition? How did the girls' father ever escape in the first place? Who will survive?
And will anyone ever find Samantha in the lake, dammit?

The answer to that last question is no. And with that, any question of credibility this film even attempted to have flushed down the toilet. Why was she ever even put there if no one was ever going to find her and shriek uncontrollably until their head explodes? All that was said was a comment by Gloria that Sam wasn't "one of them" - allegedly she was a step-sister.

I would love to tell you this movie has a campiness to it that begs you to check it out. I just can't.

(Shooting the writer of this film is your only choice...)

I didn't mind the lead guy (Devoti), he seemed to be the only one with an ounce of intellect (and acting ability as well). Everyone else was calling it in, and it was a prank call to be sure.

But this is a movie rife with clichés and widespread simplicity. There's nothing here you haven't seen a hundred times before, and if you dare to challenge me on that I'll eat my hat.
Though for all intents and purposes, I rarely wear one.

Footnote: As I was preparing this post Saturday night, I was late in getting to bed, and when I flipped on the tv to zone out - guess what was on? Yep. Lake Dead. On Sy-Fy! I sooo wasted a Netflix rental, and that just proved it. Gah!

HorrorBlips: vote it up!

1 comment:

forestofthedead said...

Does it make me a bad person that I want to see this movie even after reading this review? Perhaps.