Lake of Death (2019) reviews and now on Shudder

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[Total: 11   Average: 2.6/5]

‘There are some nightmares you never wake up from’

Lake of Death is a 2019 Norwegian horror feature film about a small group of friends who a battle to survive in the middle of the darkest forests and deepest fjords. The original title is De dødes tjern

Written and directed by Nini Bull Robsahm (Manhunt; Amnesia), the Canopy Film production stars Patrick Walshe McBride, Ulric von der Esch, Iben Akerlie and Jonathan Harboe. Produced by Thomas Robsahm and Fredrik Pryser.

The film is based on the 1958 Lake of the Dead which itself is an adaptation of a 1942 novel.

Plot:

Lillan (Iben Akerlie) and some friends travel back to the remote cabin by the little lake, where her twin brother died last year, and soon after arriving strange things starts happening…

Reviews [click links to read more]:

“Visually, it’s gorgeous. The natural landscape enriches the dreamlike quality of the film. It’s well-executed too, which means that Robsahm has assembled an easily digestible horror movie with an engaging retro feel that doesn’t overcomplicate itself. It’s prone to cliched genre pitfalls and silly character choices but entertains nonetheless.” Bloody Disgusting

“Though it ultimately relies on what was, in the Forties, a very familiar strain of horror, there’s something deeper and more uncertain here thanks to the story’s broader folkloric context. Robsahm teases this out through little details neatly hidden in and around the central plot. The result is a character-focused story which nevertheless leaves one uncomfortably alert to the smallness of its human participants.” Eye for Film

Lake of Death is a very different kind of horror movie, where the psychological and supernatural elements play a larger role. It’s a mystery that seems to become even more mysterious because the lead character is very confused. I enjoyed parts of it but as a whole, I expected a lot more.” Heaven of Horror

“The film does wonders to encourage holidaymakers to go explore the beauty the land has to offer. Everything is shot to give the appearance and feel of a fairy-tale or oil painting. It makes for beautifully romanticised viewing but contrasts with the story the film is potentially trying to convey. Sadly, pretty visuals cannot save a watery plot.” The Hollywood News

Lake of Death looks fantastic and is amazingly competent on every level from acting to score… I just wish it could have kept some of the elements that made it uniquely Norwegian because that would have made this one to remember… rather than a solid watch, you may not revisit anytime soon…” Horror Fuel

Lake of Death does some things decent, but it never goes far above average and never reaches out of its comfort zone. It’s rather fast-paced and pretty easy to watch, if you can get used to subtitles (which isn’t a big ask). But it gets so wrapped up in being meta, it fails to have the one or two qualities that make it somewhat unique and ends up fading into mediocrity.” Killer Horror Critic

“Akerlie is good as the seemingly near-catatonic heroine, and features in one gothic set-piece – apparently referencing the old film – as she takes a long walk off a short jetty in a white nightgown and plunges into dark waters for an eerie underwater sequence. The other characters spend most of the film acting over-jovial or over-suspicious, but that’s part of the game. As in many Scandi-horror movies, the scenery is spectacular even if the storyline feels familiar.” The Kim Newman Web Site

“Shot in 35mm rather than digitally, it looks stunning and delivers plenty of atmosphere. The story held my attention, the jumps scares deliver as it works up to a tense final act […] But one of the reasons I and I suspect many others, watch foreign films is to see something different. And Lake of Death isn’t different. It’s enjoyable, but nothing you haven’t seen before.” Voices from the Balcony

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Release:

Lake of Death was released in Norway on 1st November 2019. It will stream on Shudder from July 16th 2020.

Cast and characters:

• Patrick Walshe McBride … Bjørn
• Ulric von der Esch … Kai
• Iben Akerlie … Lillian
• Jonathan Harboe … Gabriel
• Elias Munk … Harald
• Jakob Schøyen Andersen … Bernhard
• Sophia Lie … Sonja

Technical details:

• 94 minutes
• Aspect ratio: 2.35: 1

Related:

Lake of the Dead aka Lake of the Damned – Norway, 1958 – reviews

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