LAKE OF DEATH (2019)
Norwegian horror flick now streaming on Shudder is based on a 1958 Norwegian horror film, Lake of the Dead, though it seems to owe just as much to The Evil Dead, as it does that film. The story has pretty Lillian (Iben Akerlie) returning to a lake cabin she and her twin brother Bjørn (Patrick Walshe McBride) used to live in. Bjørn disappeared a year earlier and was never found and now Lillian plans to sell the property. There are legends of the lake being haunted and of a past of death and murder there. Obviously, strange things start to occur the longer Lillian and her friends stay and the group starts to believe the campfire tales of the lake might be true. Is it someone or something stalking this bunch?
The film is atmospherically directed by Nini Bull Robsahm from her own script, based on that 1958 film and is also influenced by some more contemporary horrors. There is a lot borrowed from The Evil Dead such as a creepy cellar, an old, rundown shed and a book of ominous writings, in this case, Bjørn’s diary. Robsahm’s film is far more atmospheric than visceral, more mystery than horror, and there is surprisingly minimal violence and bloodshed for a cabin in the woods flick. The film does pay homage to and acknowledges it’s influences, such as one amusing shout out to A Nightmare On Elm Street. This makes sense as Lillian sleepwalks and also sees disturbing visions of an oozing black liquid and of the missing Bjørn. While the film is far more grounded, there is still a supernatural element attached to the lake that is alway present, one way or another. It is a slow burn and has some spooky scenes, most notably the dream sequences and the cinematography from Axel Mustad is quite stunning, especially in the underwater scenes. Nini Bull Robsahm does have a good visual eye and lead Iben Akerlie is quite photogenic. The end is predictable and the big reveal not unexpected, but it is still a moody and unsettling journey, despite it’s familiar elements. The solid cast also stars Elias Munk as Harald, Sophia Lie as Sonja, Jonathan Harboe as Gabriel, Jakob Schøyen Andersen as Bernhard and Ulric von der Esch as Kai.