Updated: Mar 18
Directed by: #MichaelCrum
Written by: #GeraldCrum
As the title suggests, Lake Fear 3 is the third instalment in a series, and if the first two are anything like the third, then it’s safe to say you can give them a miss. The Crum Brothers strive at times for a tongue-in-cheek monster movie, and at other times for an intense, bloody horror film, but the finished product fails to be either funny or scary. Instead, it drags along for almost 80 minutes, bloated by the excessive use of slow-motion, and peppered here and there with some admittedly cool effects.
Ever since her sister disappeared, Revel (Snedden) has been making monthly pilgrimages with her friend Chloe (Newberry) to ask questions and hand out missing posters. This time, they see that TV medium Vincent (Khajishvili) is in town for a convention, and they recruit him and his self-proclaimed psychic powers for the search. However, they quickly realise that there are demonic forces at play, and when they meet loner Remington (Joshua Winch), all hell quite literally breaks loose.
It is tricky to know whether we are actually supposed to like anyone in this film. Revel has little to her beyond missing her sister, to whom she was apparently not very close; Chloe is cruelly unsympathetic to her friend’s grief, sarcastic to a fault, and also charmingly refers to the townspeople as ‘backwoods inbreds’; and Vincent is a loud, whiny coward. Throw in stoic tough guy Remington, who has previous experience with these demons and spends most of his time seemingly waiting for his cue to speak or walk, and you have a painfully unlikeable cast.
Technically, also, there are issues. The music often drowns out the dialogue, or clashes with the tone. There are stray frames spliced haphazardly throughout in what must be editing mistakes. Many scenes feel slow and stilted, with characters taking too long to react; one of the worst examples comes early on, when Revel questions a local and takes a full fifteen seconds to say her next line. More often than not, it feels like they only had one take of each scene, perhaps most noticeable in the moment where Remington appears to forget how to buckle a belt. The film is hurt most by its shots at humour which are, as Vincent helpfully notes, poor attempts.
The saving grace should be the creature effects, and for the most part they work. The greatest triumph is Revel’s transformation; her mouth suddenly has too many teeth, the lower half of her face is covered in blood, her eyes glow red. Snedden’s physical performance is laudable, too, as she crawls on top of her friend and, in what is perhaps the only truly clever moment in the film (though, judging by the rest of it, unintentional), plays with the male gaze predictably established early on: two scantily-clad women so close, the one caressing the other’s face, while one is in fact a demonic monster. This is regrettably the only effective creature. In one of the many moments which muddy the film’s tone and purpose, a severed leg sprouts its own legs and trips along the ground. Based on the moments of body-horror, the Crum Brothers clearly want you to know that they have seen The Thing. Sadly, they seem to have missed what made it work.
If only one good monster could have saved the film. On top of the unlikeable characters, the strange editing choices and poor sound mixing, and the hit-or-miss effects, Lake Fear 3 is simply boring, and for a gore-filled, campy creature feature, this may be its most egregious fault.