HOME TOWN HEROES GO HORROR: A Review Of LAKE NOWHERE (Page 3)
Everyone has a town that no matter what, no matter where they end up, they still call home. For me home will always be the dirty little city of Glens Falls New York. Little local businesses, beloved homeless weirdos and drunks..it might not seem like much to outsiders but to Glens Fallsians it’s home. Another thing that most of us Glens Fallsians remember is an odd little television show on our local public access channel (Channel 8), a show made just for us stoner insomniacs. Odd, confusing and oftentimes completely nonsensical this show..was Ravacon..Although most of us will remember it as The Banana Boy Show. I was on the show once by accident when I passed one of the character’s a joint during filming after being asked where to buy an ax to kill raccoons (My answer for those interested was “Home Depot man..they have all your racoon killing needs..toke?”..unfortunately the joint passing was cut but you can still see yours truly in episode 4) The show focused on…well that’s kind of hard to explain..I guess it’d be much better for you just to check it out yourself
Sadly the show was canceled and not many people outside of the Glens Falls area ever got to see it. This is even more depressing considering that The Ravacon Collective, (the fellas who put the show together) were created to showcase the talents of bands, filmmakers, and other indie artists in the upstate NY area..In other words they were a group after our own hearts here at B-is For Best.
In 2014 a discovered a kick ass poster on a kiosk that I simply had to have. It was designed to look like an old school slasher poster and advertised a film called Lake Nowhere with the simple yet effective tagline “You won’t Get Out Alive” it was showing in a local theater and also mentioned that the filmmakers were locals so of course I excitedly planned going to the screening..only one problem..it had already happened. I attempted to reach out to Directors Christopher Phelps and Maxim Van Scoy but never got a response. At the time I didn’t make the connection with the names so I had no idea this was the same guys behind the insanity that is The Ravacon Show. Other things came up and I forgot about the entire thing..that is until the other day when I checked my mail box and what shows up from our good friends at MVD but a copy of the limited edition Blu ray/DVD of the film. Honestly the title didn’t immediately spark my memory (keep in mind I’ve probably watched a thousand films since 2014…so cut me some slack) what didn’t slip my attention was the fact that it came from Brink Vision..that’s right, the same company that brought us the abysmal Sisters Of The Plague..Honestly this wasn’t one I was looking forward to..which made it all the more awesome when I popped this bad boy in.
LAKE NOWHERE is a unique little salute to not only classic 80’s slasher films but specifically classic 80’s slasher films that are found unexpectedly on bootleg VHS tapes that have been taped over(..now that’s a pretty fucking specific sub-genre!) It follows a group of teens who head out to a cabin in the woods to party only to be stalked by a masked mad man..but things aren’t exactly as routine as they might at first appear as the laws of life and death don’t seem to fully apply at Lake Nowhere.
Little details like trailers, tracking issues and even “the original material recorded on the VHS” coming through make this thing really work. One trailer in particular entitled The Harvest man (about a farmer who waters his plants with toxic waste and unleashes a plague of killer plants) seriously needs to be made.
The acting here was decent for what it was. Just like the majority of 80’s slasher films all the characters are throwaways meant to show up, party and then die. This isn’t an insult at all as it’s precisely as it should be..This one is a lot more Ogroff then it is Friday the 13th despite the initial setup.
The gore effects here were pretty well done..although I could have standed more of them. The kills are a bit too quick and uninventive for my taste..but still work.
The cinematography here was the real star, utilizing shots reminiscent of Black Christmas, Halloween and even a little bit of Evil Dead, the Camera truly is a character in this little ditty and cinematography Jennifer Leavitt certainly deserves mention here for taking the job seriously and really making this thing pop. The overlay used to give it the VHS look also works almost flawlessly which is something that’s quite a bit harder to pull off than you might think.
The Killer here wore a wooden mask and rags and reminded me a lot of the crazy woodsman character from the film Don’t Go In The Woods, crossed with Jason Voorhees and a bit of the monster from BloodFreak (Yeah some shots make it look like the mask has a beak..giving it that evil turkey look!) His movements are appropriately slow and menacing and this guy is fucking beastly, lugging around several of the victims at the same time.
The sound design kind of sucked here, quite a few of the scenes with the group it’s very difficult to understand what anyone is saying. I’m not sure if this was done purposely to stick with the whole bootleg VHS feel or not..but even if it was I doubt any of the VHS nuts like myself look back and miss the good old days of bad sound. It wasn’t enough to ruin the film for me..but it was a point of annoyance at times.
There was a lot of unanswered questions at the end of this one..but once again I think the what the fuck ending was intentional as that was also a hallmark of the slasher genre and honestly that works here.
I honestly think this would have worked much better released on an actual VHS tape (although I understand that that would drastically reduce sellability) If they do release it that way I recommend they go all out with the bootleg angle..and make it look like this:
I wasn’t happy about the very short running time and feel another 20 minutes would have greatly improved the pace and made way for some more character development and more of a rewarding wrap up of the story. Once again this wasn’t enough to ruin the movie for me..but I do hope that Ravacon will consider going back, shooting more footage and re-releasing a feature length version of the film that’s a little more..padded.
Overall I give this film one middle finger a quarter of the way extended. Despite having some issues it’s a solid first feature film and I personally can’t wait to see what directors Christopher Phelps and Maxim Van Scoy have in store for us next.