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Wicked Lake

Other // Unrated // October 6, 2009
List Price: $19.99 [Buy now and save at Amazon]

Review by Kurt Dahlke | posted October 7, 2010 | E-mail the Author
Wicked Lake:
With something like no expectations coming into Wicked Lake, I'm both pleased and disappointed. Online word of mouth is not good, but it's got a soundtrack, and the imprimatur of Al Jourgenson, in the form of a movie introduction. Somehow the movie manages to generate and subvert expectations both in anticipation and in practice - looking like a love-it-or-hate-it extreme exploitation picture - but ultimately just taking the piss out of any number of lascivious, blood-thirsty, cheapjack horror DVDs littering the sleazy freeway of life.

Launching immediately into plentiful nudity, we find a hot college art model teasing a hapless hick artist. He's left wanting when one of her hot compatriots engages in some cruel carpal coitus interruptus. Those self-same hot-'n'-horny lesbo lovers head to the titular lake for a weekend of who-knows-what, while the hick of blue nethers, Caleb, lets his family of even more insane hicks know of the girls' whereabouts. Humiliation and sexual subjugation ensues, but not before the ladies do some seriously lame crotch-grinding and nude swimming - pleasing to the eye but not the much else. When Caleb's crew arrives, we're pissed, because for whatever reasons these seemingly tough ladies start screaming before pretty much laying down to die.

Oh, but there's a twist! At midnight, the bitches become witches (or something) and blood starts to flow. Caleb is crucified on the front door - becoming a weird running joke - and everyone else receives his just desserts. If only any one of these elements met or exceeded exploitation standards, we'd be aces. Though the ladies are hot, much else is not. Performances won't wow you, gore favors budget over believable bisections, the look of the film itself is not up to snuff, and it really makes very little sense.

Some - OK, one or two - of these aspects are kind of refreshing to the jaded horror viewer, but overall the effect creates a confused feeling. What exactly was director Zach Passero going for? No one who's been primed to look for boobs in a horror movie will be disappointed, that's for sure. And those who like their horror with a heavy dose of disbelief and some cheap laughs will get a kick out of the more silly aspects on display. However anyone looking for the slightest bit of logic or follow-through might feel left out in the cold. Why do these chicks present themselves with such levels of teasing dominance if they have to wait until midnight to start collecting checks, for instance? More to the point, why does Passero promise gut-wrenching gore and tent-pitching eroticism when his budget and misplaced sense of restraint delivers only karo syrup and implied use of KY jelly?

Even more disturbing, why do movie review critics feel they have to resort to Dr. Seussian rhyme schemes and alliteration to make their pathetic points? Well, dear reader, sometimes it's simply because the movies we're made to watch merit no more, and no less. Wicked Lake throws out a bunch of promises and reneges on many of them. For a trashed-out night on the couch, when the wife is out with her friends, you could do worse than take a dip in this Lake, but when you're ready for something to give you that next level of entertainment, keep on rowing.

The DVD

Video:
1.78:1 widescreen video lands on the budget side of things, both from the source and in the transfer. It doesn't exactly look like this was shot on any Panaflex cameras, if you catch my drift, with a fairly digital budget look going on. The transfer itself is apparently in the budget realm. No glaring artifacts crop up, but on the whole you know you aren't looking at the most intensive job around.

Sound:
Dolby Digital 5.1 and 2.0 Stereo Sound are available. Both audio tracks pay most attention to Al Jourgenson's work for the film, replete with weird and heavy cover tunes among more standard types of scoring. Overall the mix is hot and loud, but balanced acceptably. You'll want to crank this one down a few notches if you're sneaking it in while the wife and kids sleep.

Extras:
First up is a Living Room Commentary which treats us to a lively time with the creators and lovely actors from Wicked Lake. It's a funny and informal track that will probably endear you to the movie more than is merited. However where DVD replay is concerned, this is a good thing, since you'll likely enjoy the track, and maybe even want to watch the movie again after listening to it. Tuna Pie Crust: Bloopers and Deleted Scenes, through title alone, should give you a good idea of what this movie is about. At any rate, 20-minutes of the stuff is more than anyone should need, but there it is anyway. A pair of Trailers, a Photo Gallery, and Trailers for other Shriek Show releases, as well as a Special Introduction from Uncle Alien (Al Jourgenson to you Ministry-phobic viewers) round out the extras. Our screener did not include a soundtrack CD.

Final Thoughts:
Wicked Lake sets up a lot of expectations. Will it deliver the sexy, sleazy goods? Will it present a bunch of self-possessed killer heroines unwilling to take any redneck abuse? Or will it just kind of mill around, promising this, delivering that, and never really committing to anything? The answers will likely disappoint anyone looking for something truly harsh, erotic, transgressive, or engaging. For a trashed-out night on the couch, when the wife is out with her friends, you could do worse than take a dip in this Lake, but when you're ready for something to give you that next level of entertainment, keep on rowing past this Rent It release.

www.kurtdahlke.com

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