We are all familiar with the cabin in the woods scenario in a horror film.  A bunch of friends venture off into the wilderness and stay within a remote cabin cut off from civilization only for a masked killer, or demon, or some other supernatural entity to come by and claim its victims.  One of the most famous films to portray this is Sam Raimi’s EVIL DEAD and since then we have seen countless films follow in its footsteps.  It’s been awhile since I’ve sat down to watch a horror film that took place in a cabin, so when I had the chance to check out Christopher Phelps and Maxim Van Scoy’s LAKE NOWHERE I did so with excitement.


LAKE NOWHERE is a retro throwback to the slasher films of the 80’s.  In short, a bunch of friends travel to a remote cabin for a weekend of drugs, sex, and everything else that falls under the “you are probably going to die” umbrella that is seen in horror films.  As the evening progresses on, a masked killer stalks the young adults, picking them off one by one, in the most gruesome way possible.  What sets this film apart from a lot of its counterparts is that it’s made to literally look like a film from the 80’s.  It’s as though you are watching it on your parents old VCR player with the tracking lines going through the screen and the crappy music emitting from your sound system. Even better than that, are the commercials that proceed the film along with trailers for upcoming (pretend) movies that I probably would have watched; for example, The Harvest Man – a farmer who accidentally harvested plants with special genetic powers muahahahaha.  But I digress, this review is about LAKE NOWHERE and not the fictional film The Harvest Man (though I would totally have watched that).


As I mentioned LAKE NOWHERE is directed by Christopher Phelps and Maxim Van Scoy and is written by Ryan Scott Fitzgerald and Christopher Phelps.  The film stars Wray Villanova (Bonnie), Laura Hajek (Alexis), Nathan Andrew Wright (Danny), Melody Kology (Gail), Charles Gaskins (Gary), Paul Joseph Gagnon (Clyde), and Matthew Howk (The Masked Maniac).  The movie has a runtime of only about 50 minutes which actually works in its favor.  The movie doesn’t waste time on nonsense or weak dialogue but instead gets right into the action early on.  Unknowingly, while taking in the scenery and lush forest, one of our characters unleashes an evil-being from the depth of the lake.  Once on the loose, our maniac picks off each character one by one with calculated precision and no regard. This is one of the aspects of the film that I really liked.  More often than not, we are told the killer’s backstory; and though sometimes necessary (cue Jason Voorhees), other times, it can end up being a wasted storyline.  I like that we don’t know anything about The Manic and I liked that he had one goal and one goal only.  There was no need for a final girl.  There was no need for some sob story. He was ruthless, blood-thirsty and straight to the point.


Another area of the film that I really enjoyed was the practical effects.  A lot of times death scenes can look over the top with CGI and though that technology can make a death scene look more believable there’s something special about the time spent making practical effects.  Also worth mentioning is the music and editing that seemed to collide at just the right moments.  It helped with pushing the story along as well as keeping the attention of the viewer as every so often something would be hidden within an edit break.  The music went along smoothly with the events that were unfolding and in a way the score almost became a character of its own. Overall, the technical aspects of the film – music, editing, cinematography, sound, and the style – were on point and made the movie that much more enjoyable.
All in all, I thoroughly enjoyed LAKE NOWHERE. I understand that it was an homage to the 80s slasher films that we have all come to love, but a part of me wishes it could have had a more original storyline.  Regardless, this film was able to stand on its own as a unique and entertaining viewing experience while also separating itself from similar movies in the same genre.

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