April 26, 2008
Adam Rockoff and Chris Sivertson
Carlee Baker as Mary
Frank Birney as Sir Jim
Michael Esparza as Ray
Eryn Joslyn as Helen
Damien DeKay as Palmer
Eve Mauro as Jill
Marc Senter as Caleb
Robin Sydney as Ilene
By James “Crypticpsych” Lasome
The first time I saw Wicked Lake it was a free screening at a horror convention. I had read precisely one good review beforehand so I felt it would be at least passable. Afterwards, I wanted my money back. I pined to be paid for having endured this travesty. Still, I rented it again. This time I paid 5 dollars to see this thing to see if I would feel differently. My feeling: It still sucks. Badly.
Wicked Lake starts with Caleb, the male protagonist of intentionally questionable sexuality, in an art class (taught by Al Jourgensen of Ministry) sketching the nude model Eileen. After this class is over, he meets up with Eileen and seems to awkwardly try to get to know her. After her roommates chase him away, we suffer through an overdrawn opening credits sequence set to one of the few good things about this movie: Ministry’s cover of “Bang a Gong (Get It On)”.
Caleb then runs to his house where he lives with his inbred, hick family made up of an angry alpha-male type mental-midget brother and an uncle who’s relegated to a wheelchair because of injuries from the war. The family, apparently, is a gang of guys who get their kicks abusing and molesting women, so they’re happy that Caleb’s found some new blood, per se. Charming.
Meanwhile, the four women are kissing. No, seriously… Unbroken and for no reason, for 2 minutes and 15 seconds, they are all making out. And they’re topless. They’re nice to look at for a while but once you realize you’ve been staring at this for more than 120 seconds it loses its novelty and luster. But don’t worry… they only imply their lesbianism about 20 more times over the rest of the movie. The women then go on a road trip for no apparent reason. Eventually, they arrive at a cabin near a lake where they decide to skinny dip (what else?). Do they own it? Did something happen there in the past? Oh, you should be able to tell by now that those kinds of important plot points aren’t relevant for this film.
The women head inside for the night and our hickish rednecks arrive and decide to humiliate them and attempt to sexually assault them. The situation spirals downward further and further, people die, other people suffer grievous wounds, etc. Will the women survive this indignity? And would you be shocked at all if around midnight there was one of those plot twists that flips the movie on its head?
If you think I sound bored describing the “plot” of this movie, well, you’re right. The “tortures” the men come up with aren’t arousing or sexual, which one could say is the point. The only problem with that argument is that you feel sickened watching it partially because of the torture and partially because you’re still wondering who gave these people money to make this movie in the first place. The acting in Wicked Lake is pretty much deplorable all around. The women are virtually indistinguishable, flat characters who are unnecessarily bitchy and who you feel absolutely no connection with whatsoever. The men are all overblown parodies of stereotypical inbred redneck characters, and while it is expected that you won’t like them (and I didn’t) it is surprising how quickly their idiocy becomes massively irritating. Who cares if anyone mistreats anyone in this film?
Wicked Lake is put together badly with scenes that transition from one to another with no warning, rhyme or reason. My “favorite” example is of two cops who keep appearing, traveling around examining crime scenes that have no stated connection to the plot. For 52 minutes the cops show up, randomly do their investigating, and then leave. I think it is revealed that they have a connection to the women near the end of the film. I forget.
There are two pointless cameos. Al Jourgensen as the art teacher with a thing for pornography is good, but he has no lines and serves no purpose, almost seeming like a piece of furniture the director shot in the scene. But the cameo of Angela Bettis will possibly go down as the worst cameo I have ever seen. Ms. Bettis is, I think, one of the best and most underrated actresses of the genre and to see her wasted in this movie literally makes me nauseous.
This is the full extent of Bettis’ role: During the women’s trip to the cabin, they stop at a gas station (with chauvinistic southern management of course). One of the four decides to go to the bathroom. There, Ms. Bettis stands, waiting for her daughter to come out of the bathroom. She’s onscreen for 23 seconds not saying a word. When the daughter comes out she tells the child to “stay with the nice lady” and the lesbian unnecessarily traumatizes the child. Then Bettis comes out, says “thank you”, and is never seen again. WHAT THE HELL WAS THE POINT OF THAT? It’s almost insulting to the audience.
In the end Wicked Lake has no idea what it wants to be. It’s Hostel with lots of sex (and, after 13 minutes of scenes, I got the message that they are LESBIANS!), it’s Last House on the Left with revenge (I mean no disrespect to Last House), and there is a supernatural twist that comes completely out of nowhere and is never really explained.
Wicked Lake is abysmal in just about every imaginable way. It appears that this one was set up to support a sequel – I am considering a restraining order to prevent such an unholy possibility.