IR Film Review: LAKE OF DEATH [Shudder]

The essential elements of horror have to reflect in the unknown. Some pieces do it through a sense of mood. Others through gore. Some waver in the excess of metaphor while belying even more dark tendencies of human nature. “Lake Of Death” reflects these ideas in a persistent veil of childhood trauma which is not necessarily balanced within the story. As with some horror movies, it uses the concept of a location, usually far removed from the normal vein of living to act as a surrogate vision for these troubling issues that bubble to the surface and explode in a vein of action. The dark bottomless lake at the center of “Lake Of Death” again serves as a metaphor but also a literal abyss in the path of certain characters. A mute, almost ghostly girl who is supposedly visits the location with her boyfriend and another couple in addition to a paranormal podcast friend seems awfully convenient. The house and the lake also represents bad childhood memories though it is never explained who she (and her mute brother, who is also part of the story) actually came to be there. The humor leads way to mistrust but in many ways it comes off surreptitiously more circumstantial. The film reveals certain hidden structures but nothing truly unveiling.

What is more interesting is going on inside this girl’s mind. The reasoning being some traumatic element in her past are not explored which in flashback might have been undeniably impactful. The unfortunate aspect is that it all doesn’t really add up. There are some great mood setting scenes including her in a bathroom as well as on a lake set in extreme slow motion. Some of the imagery, having to do with the background, has some very Lars Von Trier depth of imagery to it. The psycho-sexual incantations are here as further aspects are revealed as well but mostly in a circumspect way without any explanation. The ultimate resolution is a horror film trope of sorts, more in a European sense. “Lake Of Death” is more metaphorical than literal but the intention is not quite brought to bear. With so may disparate strands including many details and opportunities (like the sleepwalking), the film had definite potential but moved away from it at certain points (whether because of budget or plot-wise) to find itself at an ended deserved but not really earned.


By Tim Wassberg

Posted on July 15, 2020, in Film Reviews and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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