Friday, April 14, 2017

LAKE EERIE (2016) (DVD Review)

LAKE EERIE (2016) 

Label: Filmrise
Duration: 104 Minutes
Rating: Unrated 
Video: Anamorphic Widescreen 
Audio: English Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround. 2.0 with Optional English Subtitles 
Director: Chris Majors
Cast: Lance Henriksen, Marilyn Ghigliotti, Betsy Baker, Meredith Majors, Ben Furney

Synopsis: Kate, a young widow who is heavily medicated, moves into an old house on Lake Erie to recover from her husband's sudden and traumatic death. The lake house has not been lived in for over 40 years and it is exactly how it was left it in 1969. From the moment Kate moves into the house, she is soon haunted by a dark presence. Is any of this real or are her medications making her hallucinate?

When young widow Kate moves into a old house on the edge of Lake Erie strange things begin happening... 

The house has stood vacant for over forty years, ever since the former owner, Harrison, a famous Egyptian archaeologist, inexplicably lapsed into a prolonged coma and died. He was researching an Egyptian relic, an amulet said to have the powers to transport you to purgatory type dimension, or some such thing. 

Kate, played by Meredith Majors, is haunted by the death of her husband, she is troubled mentally, on medication, and looking for a fresh start. Her neighbor is a typically nose older woman, Eliza (Betsy Baker, of Evil Dead!), informs Kate of the storied house's history and her remembrances of the dashing former owner. She also tells her that her own college-aged niece, Autumn (Anne Leigh Cooper) is studying the life and career and would love to have the opportunity to explore the old house and perhaps read through his journals, which Kate alows. 

Together, Kate and Autumn, read through the journals and come to the conclusion that Harrison is somehow trapped in the purgatory dimension and they begin to put together a plan to free him from the prison dimension. All the while Kate is haunted by memories of her now dead husband, plagued by nightmares of a demonic snake-eyed woman with a stunning figure (Victoria Johnstone), and visited in her dreams by Harrison. 

The movie is a bit on the slow side, it's a slow-burn, it takes its time to build up to a proper head of steam, but unfortunately it never did come to a boil for me. The acting is a bit spotty, wooden in places, uneven in others. Autumn is a bit of a amateur sleuth along the lines of Velma from scooby-Doo, dyed-hair, thick glasses, and always coming up with a what-if theory about Harrison. on a personal note, her eyes were hypnotic, wide-eyed and piercing.
Meredith Majors does good work as the lead, she carries the film on her shoulders, and while I don't think she was completely up to the task, she does make for a sympathetic character, and on a surface level reminded me a but of actress Kelly Reilly (Eden Lake), notably she also wrote the screenplay. 

Back to the film, I didn't mind the slow build-up, dropping nuggets here and there, with a creepy encounters and nightmares peppered about,  but I didn't care for the resolution, the other-world I think was dampened by the low-budget, it felt rushed, and was a step down in quality from the first half of the film. There are a few notable cameos in the film, first we have  Marilyn Ghigliotti (Clerks) as the realtor who sold the house to Kate, I kept waiting for a joke about this being the thirty-seventh house she sold, perhaps with Kate exclaiming "I'm 37!", ha ha, but the director apparently had more class than that. We also get Lance Henriksen (The Pit and the Pendulum) in a walk-on role as Kate's worried father, who shows up unexpectedly to take her back to Idaho, it's a small part, but I think we know Henriksen will do about any movie that comes his ways these days, but he always lends a bit of gravelly voiced gravitas to every role. Also, composer 
Harry Manfredini (Friday the 13th, House II: The Second Story) oes the score, it's far removed from his iconic 80s scores, but not a bad synth accompaniment.   

So, I didn't love this movie, but  it is well made with some decent cinematography, and the story is intriguing, though I don't think it gels particularly well at the end. Fans of low-budget indie horror with a supernatural slant might want to check this out. Director Chris Majors (husband of actress/write Meredith Majors?) is currently working on a new movie Blood Moon starring horror veterans Robert Englund and Betsy Baker, I look forward to checking it out. 2/5