Blood Lake (1987)
WRITER: Original Story and Screenplay by Doug Barry
DIRECTOR: Tim Boggs
STARRING: Doug Barry as Mike
Angela Darter as Becky
Mike Kaufman as Bryan
Andrea Adams as Kim
Travis Krasser as Tony
Christie Willoughby as Susan
Tiny Frazier as The Killer
Michael Darter as Dennis
Darren Waters as Chuck
QUICK CUT: A group of friends head to the lake for a long weekend, and end up embroiled in the depths of a property dispute.
…Sigh. Look, they’re all so bland and the same. I’m skipping this section this time out.
TRISK ANALYSIS: Welcome back, Triskelions! I hop those of you who celebrate it had a good Easter, and that brings me immediately to the fact that...today's movie is not what I wanted to review. Time got away from me, and I forgot to order what I wanted. And when I did, it was also way more expensive than I wanted to pay.
HOWEVER, I did find a cheap copy, and it will be here, and up for next year! Which is why I am being cagey. But, all this rambling means, I am still stuck in the murky depths after Octaman, and decided to take a look at the 1987 shot on video obscurity, Blood Lake! So let's get to it!
The movie opens up on a gardener doing his thing, as some random guy sneaks up on him, brandishing a knife. And oh lordy, the movie starts off with gold.
"Hey, what's going on?" "I can't tell you no more!" "Well I didn't have anything to do with this!"
...I have so many questions already. Firstly, you didn't tell us no anything Second of all, anything to do with what??
"I just work here!" "That's good enough for me!"
I mean, okay? At least you're goal oriented?
Oh man, if the rest of the movie is anything like this...sadly, it is not. Folks, I am sadly tempted to rocket past the first 45 minutes, because nothing else happens. I'll try and not do a complete jump over, but there is no plot important details for the first half to two thirds of the movie after that murder. I’m all for character stuff, but at least keep the plot ticking over.
For the next half hour, we spend our time with a group of people coming up to the lake house for a vacation, and all we do is watch them settle in, make a little casual sexism, and play on the lake. Buckle in for a whole lotta lake, and not much blood.
None of the characters really stand out, they're all pretty samey and boring, save for maybe Little Tony, the youngest of the bunch. There're two teenagers on this trip, Tony and a girl, Susan. Tony might be the single best representation of a 15 year old kid in the 80s I've ever seen. And at some point, the movie implies the two kids had sex.
Becky checks the fridge and, to her horror, IT IS FULLY STOCKED! She doesn't know how or why, since no one has been there, and the food is new. Will the mystery of the full fridge be solved? NO FUCKING WAY.
We at least try and build SOME suspense with a dead body floating in the lake that's actually not dead, and just a prank to scare Tony. But even with this, it is STILL another thirty minutes before anything happens.
Seriously, how much of this movie was improv? Is the entire first 40 minutes just filming the cast settling in, and they decided to use it??
Finally, SOMEthing happens when Mike hears the pitter patter of feet, and goes to chase whatever it is off. I am rooting for the raccons to eat his face off, anything.
So what was the big commotion all about? We don't know! Mike finds nothing! Which sums this movie up so far. A whole lot of seeing nothing.
But the next day dawns, and it is time to go water skiing on the not so blood lake! Woo! This goes on for, no exaggeration five straight minutes.
Fortunately, it comes to a halt as they drop off Chuck and Dennis, and we are done with water sk...NOOOOO THEY GO BACK ON THE LAKE FOR ANOTHER FIVE MINUTES.
They try and spook us when something touches Susan's leg, but we don't see it, it's never confirmed what it is, and they just believe it's a snake. So that was pointless.
Yes, that is right, this entire bit of playing on the lake and water skiing takes up an entire ten minutes of screentime, with nothing else happening. This is the water based equivalent of shuffling down a hallway.
"You ready to do some more skiing?" DON'T YOU FUCKING DARE, MOVIE.
Yes, that's right, the movie at least drops in a few scenes of the killer, who has only killed the one person so far, to keep his character alive. But they're ultimately just there to have him around and do nothing but be there.
Fortunately, the water skiing is at LAST done...so now we're going to sit around and play a game of quarters, and eat up ANOTHER five minutes. I am legitimately shocked they fade cut some of the game out. Blood Lake so far has encouraged me to think it is the sort of movie that would leave every inch of the game in
This movie is seriously trying to rival Birdemic levels of pacing, and it is driving me up the wall. Or around the lake. There is LESS than half of the movie left.
FINALLY after 20+ minutes since the waterskiing started, we get the inkling that something might actually happen, as we get the Blood Lake equivalent of "Predator vision", which is just red, grainy, SOV footage...but it kinda works!
But wait! Before anything can happen, Mike and Becky lounge out on the ground and wax poetically about the moon. Look. If I am 45 minutes into a slasher movie. With only a half hour left. And nothing has happened. So the characters can lay about and sigh happily at the moon, YOU ARE WRITING IT WRONG.
Dennis and Chuck are on their way home, and they actually bump into One Boot Willy, and THANK THE MAKER FINALLY SOMETHING...
OH SUCK MY LEFT NUT.
JUST as I am ready for these guys to die, NOPE they dive in the lake and get away. COME ON. SERIOUSLY. FOR LLOYD'S SAKE.
One of them comes up for air and *tosses confetti!* his head gets grabbed by the killer, and repeatedly dunked in the water until he drowns. YAY MURDER!
The other guy comes out of the lake, thinking he's gonna escape, but he gets caught, strung up, and gutted. NOW we're talkin'.
It only took us 49 minutes to get here.
The next day, a guy shows up to ask Mike some questions, but then they start mumbling too far away from the camera. Anything you'd like to share with the rest of the class, movie??
So the guy takes Mike down to the dock and he IDs Chuck, and he wonders where Dennis is...so the guy points off to the left, "Is that him?" HOW DO YOU MISS THIS?
Following the double homicide, Mike tells the gang, and they sit around some more. Because that's not been seen so far. Okay okay, to be fair, that IS a perfectly reasonable response. And I actually appreciate the group has a PERFECT reason for not getting the fuck outta there, the cops told them to stick around in case they have questions.
The group comes back and can't find Brian or Kim! OH NO! An almost immediate other pair of deaths! Yes! Go around calling for them until...OH DAMNIT they just went for a walk and here they come back. SIGH.
We cut to some time later, "I love this lake, isn't it fun?" TWO OF YOUR FRIENDS ARE DEAD BECKY.
Brian and Kim decided to go for another walk, and Mike loses it, getting all shouty because PEOPLE ARE DYING. but not enough for my tastes.
They borrow the boat and drift around a bit, making out, and this killer is the most politest slasher ever. He doesn't want to interrupt anything.
In a weird case of deja vu, which almost makes the first scene acceptable to set up this callback, Mike again starts calling out for Brian and Kim, eventually finding the boat, and their bodies.
Meanwhile, there is a knock at the cabin door, and Becky sees someone outside. She quickly shuts off all the lights, and everyone hides. One Boot Willy comes in anyways, and pulls on the pull string for a creepy laughing knicknack that the movie set up earlier.
The silly laughing knicknack freaks out the gang, and they stupidly yell. Stupid STUPID rat creatures!! It's not that scary AND you know what it is AAAAAND you see him pull it! This should not be a surprise!
Mike hurries home, as One Boot Willy strings the trio up, and gets ready for some murderising. And asdfghjkl I don't know if it's one of the kids, or a mewling cat but the noise whichever makes cracks me up as he's about to slit a throat.
With only ten minutes to go, we FINALLY get the barest bread crumb of a clue sprinkled atop our slasheroni and cheese casserole. Becky asks why, and he says, "Because of her daddy!" right before stabbing her in the gut.
Mike chooses that moment to arrive, the two of them grapple, and let's be honest; Mike easily overpowers the guy, and stabs him REPEATEDLY in the back with his knife. Go! Go! Go!
The sherrif shows up at that time, and when Mike asks what's going on, AT LAST WE CAN BE TOLD.
"That's Jed!" "Who the hell is Jed??" "He used to live here, until her dad bought this place, but never paid for it!"
I...I guess that's a motive?? I mean, I've heard WORSE.
"So he's just gonna kill everyone??" "I guess!" THE LOCAL POLICE EVERYONE. “I’unno!”
They pack Becky off into the ambulance, and the movie could have the common decency to end now, but because that would bring me an ounce of joy, NOPE they discover that Jed's escaped!
And because that's STILL not enough for the movie to end on, we get to see Jed walking around the next day, and that the lake is suddenly dried up??!? Sure, okay, let’s end on that note!
Video: For a shot on video movie, this looks great. Everything is clear, and while it’s not great looking, it is exactly what I expect from this level, and even outshines a number of other contemporary movies.
Audio: Well, I addressed that one moment where they wandered away from the mic, but aside from that, it’s a little slice of okay
Sound Bite: I quoted some of the choiciest bits already.
Body Count: While I whinged for 40 minutes, at the end of the day, not the worst body count!
1 - Not even a minute in, and a farmer gets stabbed. That's good enough fer me!
2 - Chuck gets drowned in the lake at 48 minutes, just to illustrate the pacing issues.
3 - Dennis gets hung in a tree and gutted.
4 - Brian gets his throat slit
5 - Kim gets stabbied.
6 - Becky gets strung up and stabbed, her survival questionable.
7 - Jed's dead baby...I KNOW HE GOT AWAY BUT LET ME HAVE THIS.
Best Corpse: Urgh, we get to see so little, I guess Brian’s throat slice will win.
Blood Type - D: There’s a tiny bit of blood, and very little actual effects.
Sex Appeal: The movie sure could’ve used some, but there is a lot of shirtless dudes.
Drink Up! Every time Tony steals the scene
Movie Review: Urrgh. This is one of those movies, where all the pieces are there. I clearly like bits and pieces, and there’s even a coherent story! As batshit as it is. But oh man. I cited Birdemic earlier, but the more I think about it, the more apt that comparrison is. It literally is a half a movie of dicking around home movies, and then it’s a half hour of muuurder. If you mixed things up a bit, maybe picked a few people off earlier, like the neighbours Chuck and Dennis. Kill them quickly! That would have kept the plot going, AND made the rest of the cast wonder what happened when they don’t show up for water skiiing!….oh that water skiing. Fuck that. I want those ten minutes back. BUT that last 20 minutes IS a lot of fun. Sadly, it is not worth the wait, but a few tweaks could have made this movie really somethihng. This could be fun to watch in a group, but I would still reach for the remote to fast forward. Two out of five creepy laughing face masks.
Entertainment Value: The only thing that makes that middle chunk bearable is some of the characters. Tony is a hoot, but at the same time, his stuff is really really dated, and a little uncomfortable to watch now in 2019. The other characters have some silly moments, but there’s just SO MUCH nothing around the wackiness, it feels hollow. I needed more of that killer, both because he’s so weird, and that first scene is so memorable, it made me hungry for more of that stuff. Three out of five compass knives.