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Saturday, July 18, 2020

Review: Lake of Death

Director: Nini Bull Robsahm 
Screenplay: Nini Bull Robsahm 
Year: 2020

Shudder has managed to chain an impressive streak of original movies that are decent at the least. From excellent movies like “Monstrum” and “Blood Quantum” to some that are less exciting like “The Beach House” or “Warning: Do Not Play”, each new addition to the catalog of original movies almost guaranteed that you will have a good time. However, every streak must end, and it is the Norwegian movie “Lake of Death” the one responsible for finishing it.

After the disappearance and death of her twin brother, Lilian returns to the cabin where he died accompanied by a group of friends. Once in the cabin, strange stuff starts happening that seems to be the result of a paranormal phenomenon. At the same time, Lilian’s sleepwalking condition worsen along with her recurring nightmares.

The opening scene offered by director Nini Bull Robsahm (“Amnesia”) is enough to showcase the strengths and weaknesses of her movie, as well as to predict a good chunk of its plot. In this scene, we see Lilian (Iben Akerlie; “Mortal”) together with her brother Bjorn (Patrick Walshe McBride; “Dracula” (Mini-Series)) in a boat in the middle of a beautiful lake. From this scene, it is evident that both siblings are very close, but that Bjorn’s behavior is strange, and his attachment to his sister is unusual. 

This scene has a breathtaking composition that highlights the best features of the lake, and this composition style accompanies several scenes of the movie and results in one of its best qualities. At the same time some of its positive attributes are highlighted, this scene also shows its worse one, that being the wooden acting from the protagonist. It is hard to identify if this character was written that way or if it is a lack of skills from the actress, but every scene that focuses on her is dull and makes it hard to be interested in her.

The interaction between Lilian and Bjorn makes clear that the attachment of her brother is shady, which allows you to be able to predict most of the plot. At no moment did I felt like the characters were under any danger that they could not defend themselves from, and I was just waiting for the moment in where my prediction will be revealed. As a consequence, the plot is boring, and how everything is tied up in the end is weak and predictable.

“Lake of Death” represents the end of a great streak of original movies from Shudder. Just by analyzing the opening scene, I was able to identify its strengths and weaknesses and predict its plot, all of which got confirmed as the movie developed. With this I don’t want to come out as arrogant, but rather emphasize how predictable and dull is its plot. The positive thing to highlight from “Lake of Death” is its breathtaking photography, but nothing in the horror aspect.

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