If I had quid for every time a press release landed in my inbox promoting a film promising to be a blood-soaked slasher like non-that have come before it, and it turns out to be exactly like all those second-tier movies who came before it, promising the exact same thing, then I would be typing this latest BTG review from a solid gold keyboard!
‘Lake Alice’ whilst reasonably accomplished in achieving what it sets out to do, does it in such a way that mimics ‘almost made it’ 80s slashers in almost every aspect. Whether that is something you might be looking for, read on and decide.
The plot follows a holidaying couple, Sarah and Ryan, as they return to the Sarah’s childhood idyll in the rural US. Despite things seeming ok on the surface you quickly realise that trouble is brewing in the neighbourhood. A killer is on the loose, and there is an obsessive old flame that seems especially interested in Sarah’s return. Could there be a connection? Hmm?
One by one the body count rises.
And so, the plot moves on, slowly at times i.e. the times where no one is dying, and slightly more striding at others i.e. when the killer is doing its thing. The acting is average at best, with each playing a one-dimensional caricature than a three-dimensional persona; that said there is nothing particularly grating about it either so we will call that a tick in the box for that element. The script is by the numbers, and the twist, well, I would have been more surprised if the killer wasn’t who it turned out to be! Indeed, by the time the killer is revealed there are no other cast members left alive (other than the lead) – to makes matters worse when the killer removes the mask he actually delivers the line with all sincerity “Surprise! bet you didn’t see that coming”
Bet I did mate…
Moving on swiftly, there is fun to be had with the film as a whole package. The locations and cinematography are great throughout. The snowy landscapes look fantastic, and there is always something appealing to blood on ice. I always think that setting slasher movies where the weather acts as a natural barrier to the characters escape adds to the claustrophobic feel, without having to film them duking it out in a cupboard. The killings are nice and bloody, with some cool looking prosthetic effects to boot. The body count isn’t high, but I can’t see people feeling short changed from this respect either.
Here though I would like to offer my most instinctual piece of critique: This film is an almost textbook case of how to make a second wave slasher – and by second wave think all those late 80s slashers made quickly and cheaply to ride the wave of the powerhouse movies that came before it before falling into obscurity. This film nails that, 100% in both style and content. The issue is, for me at least, these movies, whilst nostalgic, were not always that great. They had pacing issues, inconsistent acting, a plot that was both bland whilst still managing to be nonsensical both at the same time. ‘Lake Alice’ contains these flaws also. I get the nostalgia, I get the urge to make movies as a homage, and hell, I get there is a market for it also, but to copy the flaws in the design?
Overall, perhaps I have delved a little deeper into this than needs be! ‘Lake Alice’ is a fun 80 minutes, but you got to love the ‘warts n all’ approach to homage slasher movies. I recently reviewed another slasher movie entitled ‘One night of Fear’ and said something similar, in that, with all the 20 odd years’ worth of developments in horror cinema, even under the guise of homage, is there nothing new to bring to the table?
On the other hand, can’t get enough slasher carnage? ‘Lake Alice’ will likely scratch that itch.