Sunday, January 18, 2015

Film Review: Neverlake (2013)

Neverlake (Review)
Italy/2013
Format Viewed For Review: Netflix Instant
Netflix Streaming: Yes
Amazon Prime: Yes

"...a dreadfully slow-pace and a lot of unnecessary filler..."

On a trip home to Italy, Jenny (Daisy Keeping) finds herself entangled in a mystery involving a lake...

Neverlake is an interesting story. The story follows Jenny, who has some annoying mood swings, as she comes home to visit her father. Her father is preoccupied, though, and she's not pleased to meet her father's assistant. Anyway, Jenny meets a group of orphans nearby and they show her the true power of the lake. From there, she follows their direction (without question) and finds that her father may be be part of the mystery. It leads to a satisfying climax and ending.

Unfortunately, most of our journey to said climax and ending is bland. The story as a whole and as an idea is definitely interesting. You know, there are even a few interesting scenes here, especially during the latter half. There are also some decent horror visuals and suspense, too; not nearly enough to be particularly frightening, but enough to say it's there and it works to a point. And, yes, I loved the environment and there is a somewhat ominous atmosphere to it all, but the narrative is more than often boring. Yeah, I'll be blunt and I'll get to the point - it gets boring. It's a combination of the slow pace and the uneventful plot.

And, don't get me wrong, I'm not someone who needs action every second, I love a good slow-burn pace; I think the slow-burn pace works wonderfully in the horror genre. This film is simply slow -- there is no burn or sizzle to the pacing -- slow for the sake of being slow. Have you ever watched a film where you already know what's going on, you've absorbed everything, and would like to get to the point of the film/scene, but it keeps dragging on? You even contemplate fast-forwarding, but you don't, only  to find out you should have because you wouldn't have missed anything. That's Neverlake in a nutshell -- a dreadfully slow-pace and a lot of unnecessary filler for the story.

The acting is good -- nothing special, but far from bad. Even the child cast was good. The film looks nice, too. Some scenes look off, but there are some lush and elegant frames here. The music was also effective, it really gets you into the ominous mood -- more than the story, at times. Director Riccardo Paoletti isn't bad, I think the story is simply too stretched out -- it ends up very thin. Paoletti can develop the atmosphere, build up some suspense, and pull solid performances from the cast, but the story is too bland. If the story had been cut down to less than an hour, Neverlake would have been more effective. Unfortunately, hardly any filmmakers are willing to make a film less than 80 minutes, so they'll drag it out as long as possible.

Overall, Neverlake is a mediocre film. It has an interesting story with a few solid plot points, like the climax and ending, but it's also uneventful and slow. Due to the pace dragging its feet and the uneventful story, this 84 minute feature feels more like 120 minutes. (I even had to check the runtime a few times.) If you don't mind an uneventful story with a very slow pace, this might be worth your time. Make sure you have some coffee or an energy drink nearby, though... And that's coming from a fan of slow-burn films.

Score: 4/10
Parental Guide: Some violence and blood.

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