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BEWARE THE LAKE (2017)
aka THE LAKE
Directed by Elgin Cahill
Written by Elgin Cahill, Wendy Winterbourne
Starring Anja Knebl, Jonathan Lipnicki, Audrey Walters, Vivienne Bersin, Allison Marie Volk, Jadon Valdez, Joe Bocian, Ben Johnson, Kasha Fauscett, Lyle DeRose, Rylie Manross, Sarah Novotny, Luba Bocian, Teresa Cocas, Ken Thong, Audrey Graves, Ava Dalgaard, Matthew Dayton, Aaron Lade, Drew Dayton, Cole Bauer, JP Dayton, Jason Knauf, Virginia Hanbery, Mindy Faulkner, Mark Champine, India Wanebo, Alex Bland, Lex Kolody, Nicole Myers, Jeremy Anderson, Grace Marcontell, Zachariah Alvarez, Jason Suchomel, Conner Greenhalgh, Noah Cuellar, Mia Lastrella, Trevor Paulsen, Hannah Clyker,
Chloe Helffenstein, Ron Burkhardt, Cody Dermon
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BEWARE THE LAKE is a well intentioned attempt at horror. With a limited budget, it still attempts to build some tension, some likable characters, and a villain worth sympathizing with and even rooting for. It’s relatively successful in doing all three, setting up a unique situation involving a newcomer in a small town and an interesting snapshot of that age just after high school, but before college where kids are trying to be adult, but unequipped to actually be one. All of this makes BEWARE THE LAKE more watchable than your usual no budget fare.
When a new girl named Tabitha (Anja Knebl) moves into a small town, she piques the interest of a local boy Mason (JERRY MCGUIRE’s Jonathan Lipnicki all grown up) who has decided to forgo college in order to take care of his family. This pisses off a high school girl Anca (Vivienne Bersin) who has a crush on Mason, so Anca and her gal pals invite Tabitha to the lake for swim. But after drugging Tabitha and leaving her at the lake, Anca leaves her and calls the local scumbags to come by and scare her. They end up trying to rape Tabitha, accidentally kill her, and hastily toss her body into the lake. Soon after, the ghost of Tabitha rises from the lake and seeks to enact vengeance upon those who wronged her.
Much of BEWARE THE LAKE feels like a GOOSEBUMPS episode. All of the scenes where there are some kind of haunting or paranormal activity feel very surface level and similar to things we’ve seen in bigger and better films before. But the film proves to be somewhat uneven in that its light tone is bogged down with the attempted rape, the drugging, and the seedy way in which Anca sets Tabitha up and the sleazebags dispose of the body. I feel this is a film that fails to reach the equilibrium between the more innocent hauntings and the more R-rated stuff, so it wavers in between these two extremes in tone all the way through and I think that hurts the film.
BEWARE THE LAKE is competent in the way it tells its story, just weak in terms of maintaining a consistent tone. The no budget effects are somewhat effective due to the use of some useful shadows and light and the story of a restless spirit, though familiar, still is decently realized. I can’t recommend this one for those used to big budget horror, but if you’re a low fi horror fan, BEWARE THE LAKE might be of interest to you.
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