Movie Review: ‘Crazy Lake’ Is An Insanely Uninspired 80’s Slasher Homage.

 

It’s spring break, and a group of college kids are heading to a lake cabin that belonged to the uncle of one of their friends. The locale, known as Crazy Lake, doesn’t get its name from the wild parties that happen there. The name came about due to rumors that psychotic patients, who were subjected to government experiments, were disposed of in the lake.

But maybe, just maybe, one of these maniacs didn’t meet such a watery fate. Perhaps this psycho is still out there, roaming the woods. If that’s the case, spring breakers should beware if they visit Crazy Lake, as they may become a part of its murderous lore.

Jason Henne and Christopher Leto shared directorial duties on Crazy Lake, working  from a script penned by Leto. The end product is pretty unremarkable and uninspired, as Leto has basically dusted off old tropes and cliches of slasher films gone by – more specifically the Friday the 13th franchise. You have a lake with a deadly past. Wait. Can a body of water have a past? OK… a lake with a deadly HISTORY (that’s better), à la Crystal Lake. And it’s a history (or perhaps more of a local legend) that is only very briefly touched on at the beginning. Then you have a maniac roaming the outlying vicinity of the lake, killing anyone who crosses his path…kinda like Jason Voorhees. One could also make a case for Michael Myers, since the killer here is also an escaped lunatic.

The characters are all very one dimensional, and are representative of the shallow, “plug and play” characters I have encountered recently in other sub-par indie slashers.  The story is lacking in any significant development, and fails to deliver any suspense or scares…not even cheap jump scares. Of course they do find time to insert two ridiculous party scenes that look like they would serve better as adverts for whatever hip and trendy alcoholic beverage all the vapid 20 somethings are drinking nowadays. There are two plot twists, one towards the end and one right at the end, but frankly they are both too trite and stale to make me care about how the movie finishes up.

The performances on display here, are truly nothing to write home about. They are either entirely too flat or over exaggerated, there is no middle ground. Thus, the main characters all come across as insipid or annoying. I always thought there was supposed to be a certain amount of likeability or relatability to such characters in order to make the viewer care about their fate. That is definitely not the case here. And of course the killer is another of the (very) average hulking, rage filled stereotypes that has become commonplace in the realm of the indie slasher. I mean, the psycho killer even wears a makeshift Hannibal Lecter half mask, like the one in Silence of the Lambs.

This movie seems to depend as much on breasts (bare or in bras and bikinis tops) as it does on bloody deaths. And while there is a good amount of blood, the use of gory practical effects like gashes, slashes, and stab wounds are somewhat sparse. You may get to see a throat being cut, but when a victim’s guts spill out, you don’t get to see the gaping abdominal wound from whence they came. In the end it wouldn’t matter what amount of boobs or blood had been on display…it wouldn’t have made the movie any better.

I’m guessing at this point, all you Little Monsters can guess my opinion of this movie. It’s not that I don’t like it when filmmakers pay homage, but I do take issue when it comes across as unoriginal. Because it’s not about “reinventing the wheel”, but it IS about adding one’s own personal flair and creativity to a preexisting concept or narrative framework. And that’s ends up being this movie’s major shortcoming. This is yet another movie that falls into that category of films clocking in at or under an hour and fifteen minutes (thatwith credits).  However,  it somehow felt excruciatingly long. At this moment I am reminded of the watermark on the screener that said, “not for sale or circulation”. Yeah, the possibility of me sharing this movie with anybody isn’t EVEN bloody likely. 3 / 10

 

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