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Overall Rating
1.29

Awesome: 0%
Worth A Look: 0%
Average: 14.29%
Pretty Bad: 0%
Total Crap85.71%

1 review, 1 rating



Wicked Lake
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by Jay Seaver

"Wicked crappy."
1 stars

SCREENED AT THE 2008 FANTASIA FESTIVAL: I grew up in Maine, where comedians can build entire routines out of how we use the word "wicked". For us, it's usually an adverb that means "very", as in "wicked cool". In some spots, you can drop the "cool" part and have something that means "awesome". It is more properly used to mean "evil" or "improper/sinful but enticing". Sadly, the movie "Wicked Lake" is none of those things. It probably intends to be the last one, but is more often closer to "evil". That's not fair to it, though - making an awful movie isn't actually monstrous, after all.

It is calculated, of course, in much the same way as the other movies Media Blasters/Fever Dreams was promoting at the festival. It's a Frankenstein's monster of a movie, based on what's been shown to correlate with high sales for non-sequel direct-to-video horror: More blood and guts than a movie that cares about an R rating can use and naked girls (even better if they're making out!), I imagine, are the first things on the list. Quality writing and acting are much lower. A couple names with horror movie credentials will help, too, but Frankenstein is on a budget, so figure out the point below which crappiness hurts sales and stay a few bucks above that.

Giving the creation a soul is a difficult thing, though those other movies had a little more success. With Machine Girl, they had a filmmaker with a track record of making giddy exploitation at the helm; I haven't seen Tokyo Gore Police, but the description promises something new and creatively gross every few minutes and some talented people involved. Wicked Lake, on the other hand, has a thoroughly generic screenplay by the director of I Know Who Killed Me: Four hot lesbian witches (though only two actually contribute to the story) take a road trip to a mountain cabin to perform some sort of ritual only to have to deal with the nasty redneck family of Caleb (Mark Senter), the dork who has a crush on Ilene (Robin Sydney), some more jerks they meet at a gas station on the way, and a pair of perhaps overzealous cops investigating some nasty murders.

The story plays out in painfully predictable and lame ways: Just about every man is a pig and a thug; the ones that aren't are cowardly and ineffectual at standing up to the rest. There's not a character in the movie that isn't made out of purest cardboard, and the witches don't come off as much better than the guys. Ilene's girlfriend Helen (Eryn Joslyn), the leader of the group, manages to be enough of a bitch to taint the entire group, so that when the white trash shows up and starts tying people up and threatening sexual assault, it results on the audience not having sympathy for anyone, especially since the other two are vicious like they've had practice when an opportunity arises to turn the tables.

I suppose that if you rate this sort of movie on the sheer amount of bare breasts and blood, Wicked Lake delivers. It's not exactly memorable sex and violence, though; at no point is the audience going to think "hey, that's a really creative kill." Maybe the bits with with one guy stabbed and stuck on the door, but it's tough to get past the really atrocious acting there. The women are all attractive, certainly, but we see them naked too early too get very excited about it later. That's just bad B-movie filmmaking.

Basic competence seems to be too much to ask, though. The cast is bad all around; Senter is especially awful. Even veteran horror character actors like Tim Thomerson and Frank Birney are terrible, and as much as Eryn Joslyn's character is unpleasant, she's the closest the movie has to a good performance. Director Zach Passero never makes the film exciting, and Sivertson's script manages to wonder how he managed to fall so far from I Know Who Killed Me. He and others making the movie seem to be from Lucky McKee's orbit - Angela Bettis has a cameo - and as interesting as the group looked at one point, it's starting to look like the highs that community can achieve don't come close to matching the lows.

And there's not much argument, this is about as low as you can go. It's bad enough that the one-sheets handed out at the door before the screening wound up littering the floor. Can't blame them - I wouldn't want to be holding evidence I'd seen this movie, either. It's wicked bad.

link directly to this review at http://www.efilmcritic.com/review.php?movie=17645&reviewer=371
originally posted: 08/22/08 13:48:40
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OFFICIAL SELECTION: 2008 Fantasia Film Festiva For more in the 2008 Fantasia Film Festival series, click here.
OFFICIAL SELECTION: Fantastic Fest 2008 For more in the Fantastic Fest 2008 series, click here.

User Comments

8/07/11 mr.mike Decent knockoff of '70s grindhouse flicks. 3 stars
IF YOU'VE SEEN THIS FILM, RATE IT!
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USA
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  DVD: 07-Oct-2008

UK
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Australia
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  DVD: 07-Oct-2008


Directed by
  Zach Passero

Written by
  Adam Rockoff
  Chris Sivertson

Cast
  Carlee Baker
  Michael Esparza
  Eryn Joslyn
  Will Keenan
  Eve Mauro



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