Lake Dead (2007) Review
Written by: The Dude
I'm not gonna lie to you, Lake Dead is not that great of a movie. It's not god-awful, it's far from terrible, and it's nowhere near Boll-standards of cinema. Of course, it's not that great either, but this does something your average low budget horror flick these days fails to do. It gets better as it goes. It honestly does. And while you might be saying it's because I've been drinking more as the movie progresses (more on this later), that's not the case. The film genuinely turns from the same old murderous inbreds stalking hot nubile flesh into something marginally entertaining and (gasp) kind of fun.
Lake Dead begins with an old man going on about something. You know he's going to die because he's going on about how he's going to expose people. He dies, and it turns out he had granddaughters. And a run down motel up by a lake. Dead old man leaves the motel to his granddaughters, Brielle, Kelli and Sam (Kelsey Crane, Kelsey Wedeen, and Tara Gerard). They decide to go up and check out the motel, and most likely get some sunbathing and shenanigans in as well. Sam is the first to make it to the motel, where she's instantly attacked by two men in a gruesome fashion.
It should be noted at this point that while you feel bad for Sam, you can take pleasure in knowing Tara Gerard won the Fox reality show Paradise Hotel. And if you're strange like I am, and you felt that she didn't deserve to win, you can enjoy her untimely fate. (Also, she swears a lot, but not in a cool, Tarantino way, more like a child who just learned how to swear, but still doesn't know the fine art of it, and she's gone before you even realize it)
Anyway, Brielle and Kelli go off to the woods with assorted hot young friends, and are rather annoying. The one girl Tanya (Malea Richardson) is the resident slut of the group, and it's not long before she's off seducing one of the guys in the woods. Naturally there's nudity, and if you can forgive the obvious jokes about men being typical pigs, this is where the movie starts to become good. It takes awhile to get to this point, but as soon as the boobs disappear, the law of horror movie villains and breasts comes into play, and the gore kicks in. And some creepiness involving bugs. And then, the fun begins in the form of James C. Burns.
Burns plays the Sheriff, who comes to calm the girls down (who have witnessed the gore), but who has an ulterior motive. I don't want to give anything away as to what it could be (though if you've ever seen a horror film, you can probably take a guess), but suffice it to say, Burns got the R. Lee Ermy role from the Texas Chainsaw remake. And he has a blast with it. The movie comes alive, and suddenly, the bad guys are a little more interesting. There is a motive behind their ways, and it's not presented in a stupid, expository manner. And now, the other actors kind of up their game as well, particularly Kelsey Wedeen as Kelli, who I actually believed to be genuinely freaked out, and not just pretend acting. (If there is justice, producers will use her more often as a scream queen. The girl's pretty, no denying that, but she's also believable). But Burns, man, he takes his role and runs it into the end zone with the greatest of ease.
Now, as I mentioned before, drinking helps with the film. It allows the pain of the first half to slowly melt away, and it leaves feeling like you didn't waste your time. You can even make a fun drinking game, involving character choices, to aid in your movie watching experience. And speaking as a man who's done this plenty of times in the past, there are far worse films to get drunk while watching.
Lake Dead will not change the face of horror. But it's competently made, decently performed (with the two major exceptions I pointed out before), and I can say if director George Bessudo makes another horror film, I won't run far away as if his name were Uwe. And if you're looking for female empowerment flicks, it's more fun to sit through than Death Proof.