Ghost Lake (2004)

DVD Cover (Velocity Home Entertainment)
Genres: Horror, Supernatural Horror, Zombie Film
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Jay Woelfel Jay Woelfel
Tatum Adair Tatum Adair
Timothy Prindle Timothy Prindle
Gregory Lee Kenyon Gregory Lee Kenyon
Azure Sky Decker Azure Sky Decker
Chuck Franklin Chuck Franklin

2.4 / 10 - Overall Rating

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Review by Chad
Added: May 15, 2005
To start things off, we see Rebecca Haster (Tatum Adair) getting ready for a night out on the town. Young Rebecca looks to be in her mid-twenties, but her mother gives her a set time in which to be home. I'm not sure at this point in the movie whether she's playing a teenager or if there's some serious family dysfunction going on here, but that's how it goes. So then, Rebecca (or Becky, as she prefers to be called) goes out to a club and meets a guy, who she dances with for a few minutes before taking him out to her car to have sex with. I'll never know why things like that never happen to me, but as Becky is riding this lucky fellow in her car, we cut back and forth between them and her parents, who are slowly dying due to a gas leak in the house. Then, as the couple finish bumping their uglies, we see both parents die. Upon returning home to her dead folks, Becky feels responsible, so she decides to spend some time at her parents old lodge out in the wilderness. On her way to the lodge, she nearly runs down a man on the side of the road, but as she stops to see if he's alright, he comes off as a pretty swell guy. He asks for a ride to his lodge, which just happens to be right next to hers. Becky agrees, and the man introduces himself as Stan James (Timothy Prindle), some friendly chatter is had, and that's that. The next day, Becky witnesses some ghostly happenings, meets a ghostly young girl named Saundra Tompson (Azure Sky Decker), and even sees a zombie fisherman coming after her.

"Understanding it doesn't matter. Surviving it does."

That's the quote used by our heroine near the end of the movie, and boy was it spot on for this film. Now, I'd imagine that in a life-or-death situation, that saying would apply quite nicely... but when the director of tonight's feature film uses that quote as the backbone for the basis of his storyline, things tend to kind of fall apart. The remainder of this paragraph is chock full of spoilers, so any readers interested in this one may want to skip down to the next paragraph now. It's revealed that the lake near Becky's cottage is an artificial lake, one that was created by man and flooded a small town. This was an excellent basis for a ghost / haunting movie; I don't think it's ever been done before, and strange as it may seem, this scenario really did happen in New York back in 1930. Indeed, the movie starts out very nice... low-budget, badly acted, badly scripted, but far from the worst horror I've ever seen. At the fifty-minute mark of this two hour film, however, what little interesting material was there disappears, never to be seen again. On the thirteenth day of the first month every thirteen years, people tend to die in this lake and their bodies are never found. The reasoning, you see, is that the people who died during the previous cycle return in order to claim more victims... if they can kill thirteen people on the thirteenth day of the first month by 12:13, they will be able to return to the land of the living in order to kill at will. If they fail, they're forced to go back into the water for another thirteen years. Yes, we get the point... thirteen is a bad number. Then, we have the obligatory spooky little girl. Turns out that she's a ghost... oh wait, swerve, she's alive. No, another swerve, her twin is a ghost, but she's alive. SWERVE, they're both dead. No, one final swerve, she was just tricking everyone (by possessing the dead and disappearing at will)... she's really alive. Then, we have our love interest Stan, who tries to help Becky escape the ghosts and / or zombies (whatever they were). It turns out that he's a ghost, which is revealed when one of the corpses that appears out of the water is his. Oh wait, swerve again, he's not the ghost... the town sheriff is. Stan has to help Becky escape him, but then... SWERVE! Stan is a ghost as well, and it's up to him to kill the thirteenth victim so that all of the ghosts can escape their watery grave. But Stan has fallen in love with Becky, so he refuses to do it. This leads to Stan dying while trying to save her, but... you guessed it.... swerve! He didn't really die, he was trying to trick Becky so that she would kill herself. When it doesn't work and the thirteenth minute passes, the ghosts start to die (again). Room for another swerve here? Sure, why not. The little girl accidentally died, and she was the intended victim all along. Stan is still alive! Oh wait, just one more swerve... the little girl was merely unconscious, so the curse (which was a pretty fucking dense curse if it fell for that) starts to take Stan back to the lake. Stan fights it off, Becky picks up a stick and beats him back to the water, Becky's ghostly parents show up and assure her that their deaths wasn't her fault, and roll credits. Did Vince Russo have a writing credit in this film?

For those of you who said to yourself, "I've been wanting to see this one, so I'll skip these spoilers" and skipped down to this paragraph - go read those spoilers. Trust me, you'll be more than glad you did. Even with those completely asinine swerves and beyond lame storyline twists out of the equation, this movie is just awful. We have the above revelations which were too stupid to be taken seriously and too sad to be a joke, but that's not even counting the plot holes. The town is under the lake, and... well, it's there. Is that the cause of the curse? It's never explained, so who knows. Many, many more plot holes such as that run rampant, but considering that the underwater town was the whole fucking basis behind the film, I think it's a pretty glaring error that they forgot to explain the significance. Want more of a reason to avoid this? I'll be more than happy to provide it by way of the special effects. Now, I don't judge movies based solely on their effects... great movies have come from very low budgets, and billion-dollar effects doesn't necessarily make a good movie. Here, we have some fancy CGI work in places where they shouldn't be, and the end result is awful. We see a watery lava-lamp thing inside the zombies, a hole in the wall shines out neon purple lights, and we even see an underwater town outside of Becky's window (which was admittedly neat)... while these effects were nothing revolutionary, it's pretty apparent that the producers either had some cash in their pockets to put this together, or knew some talented people who'd work for cheap. With that in mind, they decided that it would be in their best interest to make the zombies and corpses look as fake and plastic'y as possible. Each corpse that comes out of the lake looks as though it were covered in flesh-colored trash bags, and then we have the ghost / zombie / corpse of the little girl. Have you ever seen the Crypt Keeper from the various Tales From The Crypt shows / movies / comics? If the Crypt Keeper were a seven-year-old female with no points of articulation and made constant burping sounds, you'd have the ghostly little girl from this film. Finally, we have the acting, which is just... well, Tatum Adair has no problems showing off her boobs, which is the only thing she has going for her. Nobody else in the film is quite as daring, so they don't even get those points.

Do I really need to say more? Avoid. 1/10, and that one solitary point is for a neat idea. It's just sad that they killed said idea, resurrected it, killed it again, and then pissed on its shell of a corpse.
bluemeanie #1: bluemeanie - added 11/10/2005, 10:55 PM
Is it just me or does the front of this movie look like a sequel to "Ghost Ship"? 0/10.
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