I’m a sucker for weird shit like Lake Nowhere, a VHS-like throwback from directing tandem Christopher Phelps and Maxim Van Scoy, so I went into this one with high expectations. It’s stylized in the same vein as last year’s surprisingly good Dude Bro Party Massacre III, but where that film excelled in its absurdity and off-the-wall plot, Lake Nowhere struggles to find its own unique voice. In it, a group of friends arrive at a desolate lakeside cabin and are stalked by a masked maniac.
What’s immediately intriguing about Lake Nowhere is the presentation, shot as if it were some lost VHS horror gem from the ’80s, complete with a handful of faux trailers that set the stage for a sea of B-movie cheese. And while the filmmakers absolutely nailed the old school aesthetic, Lake Nowhere never becomes anything much more than that—it’s essentially just a highlight reel of violence void of any actual plot, which consists of a handful of friends getting slaughtered in a cabin. Even movies that are about exactly that (Evil Dead or Friday the 13th) actually have a story wrapped in the mayhem, and it’s something that Lake Nowhere desperately needed. Its fake trailers actually had more of a plot than the film itself, which was pretty disappointing.
It’s worth noting that it isn’t even an hour long, which probably had a lot to do with the lack of exposition—and for what it’s worth, it does jump right into the fun stuff. It’s not like Lake Nowhere is a boring movie, it’s just never engaging because there’s nothing holding it together. Sure, watching friends get slaughtered by a freak in a mask is always entertaining (and there are some great kills), but it’s ultimately lifeless. There’s certainly a story in this movie somewhere—it does hint at something in the final act—it just doesn’t do anything interesting with it until it’s too late.
The thing about a movie like this one, however, is that it’s aimed at a certain kind of audience—it’s definitely not an easy movie to sell, but if you like off-the-wall horror that nods towards the classics, then you’ll probably get a kick out of what Lake Nowhere has to offer; just make sure you go into it with your expectations in check.
I really think it just needed another thirty minutes to develop a narrative because otherwise there’s plenty of fun to be had in Lake Nowhere, which is largely made up of a bunch of people getting massacred in wonderfully cheesy ways. Ultimately, the short running time allows Lake Nowhere to move along quickly while its psychopath stacks up an admirable body count—it’s just unfortunate that the movie never gives him a world to thrive in.