Tuesday, September 5, 2017

Film Review: Lake Bodom (2016)

Lake Bodom (Review)
Finland/2016
Format Viewed for Review: Shudder
Netflix Streaming: No
Amazon Prime: No

"It's like the writers just wanted to add twists into the film for the sake of doing it."

A group of friends go camping at Lake Bodom in order to reconstruct the 1960 murders that occurred there.

Lake Bodom is a film with many faces. The plot follows four friends: Atte, Elias, Ida, and Nora. Atte and Elias want to reconstruct the 1960 murders that occurred at Lake Bodom, but no one seems interested. So, they trick Ida and Nora into joining them by claiming there's a party in a cabin in the area. Of course, when they find out about Atte and Elias' plan, Ida and Nora are furious, but they end up staying with them and camping outdoors. All is well until murders start occurring. I can't really say much more about the plot or else I'd end up spoiling some big scenes. Although the story was interesting, it never really felt all that effective. In fact, I found my mind wandering away during the second act. It leads to a decent ending, but, again, it doesn't actually pack a punch.

Lake Bodom didn't leave an impression. I suppose the story was original, but that doesn't mean it was effective. There are plenty of twists and turns, but they just don't feel natural. The twists add to the story, they help build some character, but they're not all that interesting. It's like the writers just wanted to add twists into the film for the sake of doing it. The film has some suspense, but it often relies on the same old jump-scares—a few seconds of silence, then a jump-scare. It often works well when it acts like a slasher, but it's not exactly gory or unnerving. The setting and the set-up—the 1960s murders—could have been used more, too. It's not the worst film out there, but, like I said, it's punches are weak.

The acting was good, though. Compared to other horror movies, the acting is great, actually. The film was shot well. There are some beautiful looking scenes on here. It does look a bit too dark at times, but that's not a consistent problem. The music was great, too. The film was written by Taneli Mustonen and Aleksi Hyvärinen; Mustonen also directs. The writing should be applauded for its originality, but its flaws shouldn't be excused. Due to the writing, the film often finds itself aimlessly wandering around, shooting at moving targets. Does it want to be a slasher? Does it want to be a drama? Does it want to be both? It never fully works out. The direction fares a bit better, creating some sequences of great suspense and crafting an eerie atmosphere, but the direction ultimately fails to terrify.

Overall, Lake Bodom is a decent film. It's not a great movie, but it's not the worst film out there either. When it works, it works. When it doesn't... Well, you just have to wait until it starts working again. Fortunately, it's a short film, so it's not the worst time killer out there, especially if you're a fan of the genre.

Score: 5/10
Parental Guide: Strong violence and blood, some nudity.

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