LAKE MICHIGAN MONSTER (2018)
Directed by Ryland Brickson Cole Tews.
Written by Ryland Brickson Cole Tews, Mike Cheslik.
Starring Ryland Brickson Cole Tews, Erick West, Beulah Peters, Daniel Long, Wayne Tews, Steve Hoelter, Lucille Tews, Aylah Hutchison, Mike Cheslik, Chris Hoelter
Captain Seafield (writer/director Ryland Brickson Cole Tews) is filled with vengeance after a monster from Lake Michigan attacked and killed his father, so he gathers a crack team of speacialist including sonar expert Nedge Pepsi (Beulah Peters), weaponeer Sean Shaunessey (Erick West), and dishonorably discharged Navy man Dick Flynn (Daniel Long) to find and kill the beast. But after his team finds out most of Seafield’s stories are lies, it’s up to Seafield himself to take on the monster by himself.
LAKE MICHIGAN MONSTER is a harmless and playful homage to the monster movies of old. It’s filmed with a filter to make it seem as if it were a weathered flick lost to the ages and only recently found and restored. Reminiscent of Guy Madden’s homages to early cinema, yet much less arthouse and much more slapstick, LAKE MICHIGAN MONSTER is going to be entertaining to those who love those old silly monster movies and aren’t really looking for the dark side of horror. While there are a few jokes with sexual innuendo, for the most part, this is a film that kids interested in horror can use as a gateway flick that can entertain the parents too.
I really loved the creativity in some of the scenes such as using sonar gal Nedge Pepsi’s glasses to reflect the sonar screen and the animated sequences mapping out the plan (which is basically always the same plan every time, except with a new goofy name). These rudimentary animations really do enrich the experience while keeping with the quirky tone of it all. I also loved the look of the monster itself. Part animation and part hokey costuming, the beast may not be nightmare fuel, but it is unnerving in its own special way.
LAKE MICHIGAN MONSTER stumbles a bit in the third act, mainly because I think the strength of the film is when the four main players interact with one another. Tews’ Captain Seafield is doing a spot on Captain Obvious impression and it’s much more tolerable when his performance bounces off the rest of the cast. On his own, it gets to be a bit grating. I also think that, while the zany tone makes for a fun time, it never gets to the point of straight up hilarity. I found LAKE MICHIGAN MONSTER to be amusing, visually rich, and wonderfully odd at times. Reminiscent of the low fi, modern, retro-classic films of Christopher R. Mihm, LAKE MICHIGAN MONSTER is certainly different than most horror films out there, so I’d recommend it for those horror fans who are searching for a nice palate cleanser for some of the darker stuff.