The Violent Blue blog***Comics, Horror and Pop Culture***Updates Tuesday through Friday (and occasionally at random)

Lake Fear 3

You know how a lot of the times, these dollar store movies have a spectacular cover that the film can’t possibly live up to? Sometimes it’s the opposite, and the cover just doesn’t do the movie justice.

At first glance, Lake Fear 3 looks like it’s going to be a ghost hunters knock off. We begin with spooky intro credits from one of those ghost hunting shows on discovery, complete with a goofy cameraman doing his thing. We pull out of the TV and into a bar where people are watching the program. A man wanders in, ripped shirt, and bloody. His name is Remmington and he brings  some surprise gore and demons with him. While I’m confused and don’t know for the life of me what’s going on, I sure do like it.

We cut to the credits burning in the sky over a spectacular drone shot, and switch to a desolate phone booth and gas station. A girl is trying to post “missing” posters in this one horse town, and one of the locals tells her that if the person in those posters was lost around here, she’s just dead.

The girl, Revol jumps in the car with her friend Chloe and they race off to plaster their missing signs all through downtown. One of the places there, a local opera house is hosting an appearance by the ghost hunter, Vincent, from the opening credits. He’s unsuccessfully trying to hock autographs, but opportunity and another great drone shot are laying right around the corner for him, as the girls come to meet him.
“Can you find her sister who’s been missing for three years?” Chloe asks. She’s sure he’s a scam, but is willing to pay his expenses if he’ll even just make something up to give Revol closure
Suddenly, a shotgun blast rocks tonight and everybody runs to the window. There’s a woman holding a man at bay, it’s our bloody torn shirt guy Remmington from the beginning. She tells him to go back where he came from,  declaring she’s heard talk about a man who shows up at night and brings only death with him
“It’s my right to refuse service to anyone! Especially Hellspawn!”
Remmington warns that they need to get inside, and Revol tries to grab the gun from the woman… But it goes off in her shoulder. The shotgun wound is the least of her worries though as she melts into a terrifying monster who attacks Chloe. Remmington just looks sad as Vincent stares in shock and awe. He turns and flees into the restaurant, with the monster in pursuit. He grabs up the nearest object to use as a weapon… It happens to be somebody’s leg. The Revol creature speaks noise and its eyes glow looking into his soul. It’s almost a laughing, mocking sound. Suddenly the leg morphs, becoming a creature itself and attacking the ghost hunter, who struggles with it through the misty darkness of the restaurant.

The next 10 minutes are full on, gore fueled, relentless, monster attacks. It’s largely practical as well, with Aftereffects really only providing glowing elements to the whole affair. And just when you think they can’t keep this pace up, they do.

Vincent and Remmington toss Chloe into the backseat, bandaging her up as best they can and head out. No one‘s talking much, everyone’s pretty well in shock. Everyone that is, except Remmington. It’s not enough to flee though, monster Revol materializes in the car and goes after Chloe again. The evil is following them. A quick shotgun blast to the face is enough to propel her through the window and out of the car, but monster Revol picks herself up and puts her self back together, getting ready for another go around.

46 minutes in, we get our explanation. Apparently Remmington went on vacation to a cabin and unleash some unspeakable evil from the TV that now follows him (The flashback is inexplicably told in a bizarre and cheap looking flash animation). Now his plan is to lure it back to its own home, and he’s going to need Vincent and Chloe to help.

Remmington creates a circle of protection, then summons the evil which looks like a fleshy bloody garbage bag, spitting and growling at them. The shotgun does no good. Chloe breaks and flees as Vincent stands confused. Remmington is blinded by the blood the creature is spitting, and takes time to recover; then attacks, charging the creature which vanishes into the darkness. Vincent is bitten though, and the wound begins to twist and morph, a monster emerging from the shoulder. He gingerly picks at it with his fingers removing it as the possessions spreads over the side of his body. The creature re-emerges and Remmington bludgeons it with the shotgun. Vincent seems to be free of its hold once Remmington has administered the beat down.
Time to return to the cabin, (We never actually see a lake Do we? Because of the name of the film, I assume there’s a lake outside the cabin but really, we can’t be sure!) where the final battle will be fought. It plays out mostly in darkness, and mostly by the Foley artists. Still, considering everything we’ve seen so far, leaving us in the dark is quite effective here, allowing our imaginations to supply us much of the climax, and makes the sudden monster reveals that much more effective.
Unlike Lake Fear 2, Lake Fear 3 is in fact an actual honest to God sequel, made by Michael and Gerald Crum who show an enormous amount of growth both in technical skill and the storytelling ability in the four years since their original effort.

I’ve read in several synopses that Revol is looking for her sister who originally went to the evil cabin… I can only assume they’re referring to one of the four girls in the original film, because this movie was shot in Texas (and it LOOKS like Texas), where as part two is obviously in Florida. Still, the connection is never firmly made, and the film could’ve benefited from a stronger tie to the original Lake Fear. Likewise, I’m perplexed at why our flashback scenes were these weird flash animations rather than simply cutting to shots of the original film. It’s been the same distributor all along, I would hope that that would smooth over any rights issues.

The filmmakers very much wear their influence on their sleeves, you can totally see Evil Dead and The Thing represented here. While I criticize the make up in the original, Gerald Crum’s creature FX in this are stunning and excellent. The monsters are every bit as chaotic as what we see in Carpenters The Thing, and many of these effects shots are comparable. There’s a definite Evil Dead vibe once we get to the cabin, but these creatures supersede anything that I ever saw in Raimi’s classic. I love it when people succeed, and Michael and Gerald Crum have both knocked it out of the park with this one. It’s astonishing what a difference four years makes.

Of the three films, this is far and away the best, and worth sitting through the first two to discover this one, And it’s enough to actually make me want to go back and take a second look at the original Lake Fear!

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