“Lake Dead” is a very bad movie, unless you are a fan of rape.
Did you watch soap operas in the 80s? I grew up in a very small town, and our neighborhood was in a valley near electric transformers. We didn’t have cable or satellite, and we only got a handful of channels on our ancient Zenith television. When I was in high school, I babysat for a family across the street who had cable. That’s when I realized Kes of “Star Trek: Voyager” had ear prosthetics to indicate she was an alien. Our reception was so static-y I’d just assumed her ears were normal ears. When your television options are limited and you aren’t allowed outside because your mom needs to be able to reach you by phone at a moment’s notice, you wind up watching a lot of shit tv. I watched “The Monkees” even though I hated it, and I watched soap operas. There is a special kind of ~ACTING~ common to soaps of the 1980s. I don’t know if this is still true… I have a deluxe cable package and a DVR and mostly watch super nerdy documentaries about THE CELTS and shit. Are there ancient dead bodies? I am on that like white on rice. But for soap operas of my childhood there was a certain signature acting style.
I was surprised and perplexed to see it show up in “Lake Dead.”
The movie kicks off with an old white man yelling at an old white woman about things (a ritual?) were gross and wrong and he was going to end it. The woman yells back that it’s “all we know.” He storms out, drives off, is stopped by a cop car. He gets out and taunts the cop, who has a sheriff badge, and is shot int he head and killed. The yelling, the emoting, the scenery chewing… I was on the edge of my seat waiting for evil twins and surprise babies or something. I was also intrigued by the mention of a ritual. I started getting really interested in the movie. SPOILER: the ritual is never mentioned again, even though I wrote it down twice in my notes. This movie would have been a lot better with a ritual. Was that a red herring? Did they forget about the ritual element? Did I mishear? Any of these are possible. Well, the first one isn’t probable… the movie isn’t smart enough for that, and assumes the audience is stupid or stoned, over-explaining certain plot elements while completely eliding various character details.
After the old man’s murder there’s some extremely boring credits: white words in generic font on a black background, no image or art.
The acting is over all extremely wooden and stiff, expressionless. Within a few minutes, I learned the name and occupation of The Hot Boyfriend, but at the end of the movie I still didn’t know the occupations (or interests, etc) of two of the main (female) characters.
These characters are:
- Brielle: a hot blonde inheritor of the lake property, grand daughter of the old dude who was killed
- Kelli: a hot blonde inheritor of the lake property, etc, a barista
- Sam: a hot brunette inheritor of the lake property, adopted, brings strange dudes home and lets them sleep in her bed while she sleeps on the couch, drinks wine directly out of the bottle, owes Brielle $5k
- Ben: a hot fairly buff dude who’s a construction worker, Brielle’s (live in?) boyfriend
- Bill: chubby, hairy, unkempt friend of Ben’s; college athlete; Amy’s boyfriend; drinks early in the morning; serial cheater
- Amy: hot brunette friend of Brielle’s; put-upon girlfriend of cheating schlub Bill; loves to tan; accused of being jealous of her constantly betraying boyfriend
- Tonya: hot brunette friend of Kelli’s, asked to round out the numbers; likes having sex in the woods with hairy drunkards who cheat on their girlfriends; doesn’t go tanning
“Lake Dead” is very obviously a dude movie for dudes. Sam walks around in sexy underpants and a tight t-shirt to answer the door, which… look. Women, generally speaking, do not wear their underpants in public. They do not answer the door in their lacy lingerie. Do you know why? Because when a woman is sexually assaulted or raped one of the very first questions asked is “what were you wearing.” I’m not saying that a woman answering the door in sexy underpants is inviting rape. I’m saying that women are incredibly aware of the onus wrongly placed on them to prevent men raping them, and wandering around in public in your scanties is not a safe thing to do. And women’s underwear? Is pretty uncomfortable. The nicer looking/sexier/fancier it is, the less comfortable it is. Women, in general, do not lounge about in lingerie with their thighs crossed just so for the flattering angle. When you have a super hot chick and a dumpy dude fucking in the woods it is fundamentally WEIRD that the woman gets COMPLETELY naked for their quickie– the one his “jealous” girlfriend might interrupt at any second– while he stays fully dressed. I know, I know. you like tits! On women. You like women’s tits. And the whole point of your soft core sex moment in the film was to show off the hot actress you got and try to cover up how incredibly thin the plot is and how bad the acting is. I get it! That doesn’t make it any less ridiculous.
There’s 2 softcore sex scenes in the movie. There’s 4 attempted rape scenes. 2 of them are implied; 2 of them are interrupted, but the threat is there and the terror is there and the violence and physical restraint are there. There are twice as many rape scenes as consensual sex scenes in this movie, and one of those consensual sex scenes involves a dude who knows– he KNOWS– what he’s doing will hurt his girlfriend and doesn’t care.
This movie is a movie about attacking, controlling, and raping women. That’s what this movie is about– the assault, terror, brutalizing, and rape of women as entertainment. The psychological, emotional, and physical subjugation of women… for the enjoyment of a male audience. Brielle and Kelli are meant to be imprisoned, raped, and forced to bear children to continue a “pure” bloodline… and it isn’t lost on me that the “pure” women are blondes and the “impure” women are brunettes, one of them a WoC (Filipina). Nor is it lost on me that the blonde victims primarily scream and cry and are saved by Ben and by their estranged, alcoholic, abusive father. By the end of the movie, we know more about Ben than we do about Brielle. What’s her job? Does she have one? We at least know that Ben works in construction (and hates her adopted sister Sam).
Sam’s tortured extensively by her inbred uncles, dumped in a lake in the most inefficient and likely to be discovered way possible (they drive a shaft through her ankles while she’s still alive and attach a chain from the shaft to a cinder block to weigh her down. The open wound is a breeding ground for bacteria and an invitation for fish to nibble. Her feet will detach, the shaft will drop out, and her bloating corpse will rise to the surface of the “lake,” which is the size of a retention pond. they didn’t even bother to clean the room she was attacked in, leading to a ridiculous “close call” when the hotel manager/evil incest grandma gives the key to that room to one of the other girls.) but at least she isn’t raped (that I noticed). After her romp in the woods with Bill, Tonya’s chased through those woods and terrorized. As she’s pinned to a tree by a pickaxe through the face, one of the murdertwins (they are named, I shit you not, Kane and Abel) approaches her, unzipping his pants. We don’t see the rape, but it’s implied. Ben’s murdered and his corpse is hung from a tree, there’s no rape implication. The murdertwins attack the RV the survivors flee to, and Amy splits off to run into the woods and hide. She’s chased, brutalized, and bent over a tree branch while a murdertwin rubs against her from behind. Again, it implies rape, even though he appears fully clothed… Bill was fully clothed when he fucked Tonya in the woods previously.
When Sam was murdered and dumped in the lake, I was intrigued. Was this part of the ritual? Was there some kind of Wickerman-esque sacrifice? Did the lake need familial blood? No, as it turns out, there is no ritual. Sam was murdered, like Tonya and Amy and Bill, because they weren’t family. And Gloria, the hotel manager, was Grandpa’s wife (and sister?) and they had incestuous sex with their children, who apparently were all boys. But drunken daddy dearest got the hell out of dodge and spawned two girls and adopted a third and now grandma was all set to have her surviving male children rape and impregnate them. This is spelled out in detail in the movie. After being explicitly told this, we also see a character discover newspaper clippings lying out randomly on a table, and a family tree drawn on a wall. This movie takes absolutely no chances in underestimating the intelligence of its viewers. Daddy, of course, never told his girls anything about this… not even “my family was abusive and I left them because they hurt me, and they’ll hurt you too.”
This is not a good movie. There is nothing redeeming about this movie. The plot, the acting, everything is terrible and watching it left me feeling dirty and lessened. This is the second shitpile movie I watched on IFC. I’m starting thing Syfy will have better horror movies.
I give this movie 1 star out of 5 stars.
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