Horrorfest '07: Lake Dead (US - DVD R1)
...and so Gabe finishes up the 2007 Horrorfest with a cold, sloppy thud...
Three sisters learn that a long-lost grandfather has died and left them with the deed for his dilapidated hotel. The sisters and four of their friends decide to take a weekend camping around the hotel while they decide what to do with the land. Unfortunately there are some psycho rednecks living on the land with other plans in mind.
Lake Dead isn’t a title that inspires a lot of confidence. The synopsis on the back of the box doesn’t help. In a nutshell, your immediate assumptions will be positively correct— Lake Dead is a predictable teens in terror hacked by rednecks, with nothing new to offer to the greater feature film pantheon. However, if mindless T & A, vicious rednecks and stylized slasher violence sounds like your idea of a good time, Saturday night with beer and pizza is a go.
Director George Bessudo doesn’t disappoint those of us with low expectations, and keeps his camera moving. The film’s style is enjoyably ‘80s for the most part, dispensing with too much modern editing, digital grading or frame rate tricks. The Ts and the As are fully fulfilled, though the rapes add an unwanted edge that ruins a bit of the film’s ‘ride’ aspect (feminists will not like this film at all). The gore scenes are shoe-string, but more or less earn their ‘unrated’ status, and have a tinge of imagination behind them.
The dialogue and characters teeter awkwardly between acceptably believable and super lame and predictable (not to mention the noticeable overuse of certain four letter words), but the actors stand up to the task for the most part. The plot is really derivative, and really predictable. You could set your watch to the kill order, and could create an inventory of Friday the 13th, Texas Chainsaw Massacre and Hills Have Eyes references. The last act loses some major steam, and doesn’t live up to the anticipation of the set up, but if we’re in it for the first hour we might as well finish the last thirty, right?
This anamorphically enhanced 1.78:1 widescreen presentation is pretty soft. The image quality is decent, but lacking in fine details, and could have perhaps done well with a bit of grain for needed texture. Blacks aren’t as deep as I may’ve liked, but better then some of the other Horrorfest titles, and overall contrast is good enough to create mood without losing too much definition. The colours are kind of dull, but don’t exhibit a whole lot of compression noise.
Lake Dead’s 5.1 Dolby Digital track is very lively considering the source material’s skid row budget. The score is reminiscent of some of the effective but silly digital symphony stuff Richard Band movies are so notorious for. The surrounds are mostly filled with canned sound effects like loopy swooshing noises, which almost all uncomfortably reverb. The score and effects are very active in the stereo channels, but don’t really mix into the centre at all, which is almost solely devoted to dialogue. This creates an awkward misbalance on the entire track. The bass is too strong for the rest of the track, causing distinct distortion throughout all channels. The lower frequencies also warble a bit.
Another extraless Horrorfest title from After Dark Films. Just more of the same trailers and Miss Horrorfest webisodes.
Lake Dead isn’t total crap, but it won’t light a fire either. Come to it with low expectations and you won’t be disappointed. Not Horrorfest’s shining moment, but not the bottom of the barrel either. Take it or leave it kind of stuff. Those looking for a smidgen of genius in their redneck slashers might want to rent a real deal ‘80s killer thriller called Just Before Dawn, which Lake Dead seems to have borrowed its ‘twin monster man killers’ elements from.
Review by Gabriel Powers
This product has not been rated
Release Date: 18th April 2008
Disc Type: Single side, single layer
Audio: Dolby Digital 5.1 English
Extras: Trailers, Miss Horrorfest Webisodes
Easter Egg: No
Director: George Bessudo
Cast: James Burns, Edwin Craig, Kelsey Wedeen, Alex Quinn, Kelsey Crane
Length: 91 minutes
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