If you are looking for a good movie to show the quality of Thai Cinema and this is not it. It's such a mess I don't know where to begin. I can't blame the English subtitles - although they are a bit strange with English culturalisms.. like the police officer acknowledging a radio call by saying "roger that." So there is this monster that apparently lives in the lake and kills scores of people. Fairly decent EFX...but the story is well, full of holes and hard to follow. And the ending.. what the? There is a side story with two university researchers...who disappear after appearing.. and then come back in the end with the answer of what the monster is looking for. And somehow they are allowed into the hospital to view records and interview patients as well as access to the police chief... because they say they want to help? Every, and I mean every, confrontation scene with the monster is overlong.
Horror / Sci-Fi / Thriller
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A gigantic and bloodthirsty monster emerges from a lake after its egg is stolen and unleashes its fury on a town's inhabitants, leaving a trail of destruction and death in its wake. The town of Bueng Kan, now cut off from the outside world, must mobilize its officials and citizens, as well as a group of scientists that are in town conducting research, to catch this predator before it's too late.
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Disappointing on many levels
Godzilla's watery brother from a Thai mother!
With a humongous and deliciously gooey-looking monster on a film poster, you can seduce pretty much every fan of old-fashioned horror! Purely based on the poster image, I fell for "The Lake" like President Clinton would fall for a plump intern secretary, and I did whatever it took to be present at the Belgian Festival premiere, even though I had just injured my leg. Isn't that dedication?
Of course, being a horror fanatic since several decades already, I'm also very much aware that posters can be very misleading, and that even the most promising looking monster-movies can turn out to become massive disappointments. "The Lake" certainly isn't a massive disappoint, but I can relate to where the negative and harsh reviews thus far are coming from.
Let's start with the good! The monster(s) look awesome! They can be best described as crossbreeds between Godzilla, the T-Rex from the original "Jurassic Park", the man-thing from "Creature from Black Lagoon" and the ugly beast from the low-budget flick "Zaat" (which probably nobody else has seen). And the monsters receive plenty of screentime, so you can admire them in all their glorious cheesiness! That's another big advantage of "The Lake", by the way, nobody in their right state of mind can claim this film is boring. The monster-action kickstarts right at the beginning and remains at a high and fast-paced level throughout the film. Purely speaking in terms of B-movie entertainment, "The Lake" undeniably delivers.
Unfortunately, there's always a negative flipside as well, and the biggest deficiencies of "The Lake" are to be found in the scenario department as well as in the lack of experience/overview of the young & over-excited director Lee Thonkham. A creature-feature like this doesn't really require an in-depth or intelligent screenplay, but Thonkham nevertheless manages to ruin the basic standards. For some reason, he adds a sort of spiritual connection between the monsters and two of the lead characters, which doesn't bring any value whatsoever. Important characters keep disappearing and re-appearing, and the last 15-20 minutes of the film are a complete mess, and this easily could have been avoided. Secondly, and I blame Thonkham's young age and lack of experience for this, the editing is incredibly hectic and incoherent. At some points, "The Lake" is a non-stop spitfire of short shots (approximately 30 sec),clumsy handheld-camera footage, and completely unnatural camera angles. Perhaps a slightly too ambitious project for a beginning director, but I definitely want to see how he evolves.
PS: two things I learned about Thailand by watching this movie: there is a lot of seriously heavy rainfall, and everybody drives a pick-up truck. Insightful!
A movie about a Godzilla-style monster in Thailand seemed like something for me. It turns out that a lot goes wrong in this movie. Let's go first to what goes well. The monster design. Good design and is very convincing in slower-moving scenes. The little girl's performance, the best of the cast, the least forced. The soundtrack is nothing out of this world, but it fits perfectly into the film's most tense scenes. Some scenes that are inspired by other films, namely the scene in the car which is clearly a copy of Jurassic Park.
What goes wrong? Mainly a terrible script. This is for sure the first draft of something written in a very short time. They watched Jurassic Park, Godzilla, and Lake Placid and copied almost everything. Dialogue is awful. It never feels natural, it's repetitive, it adds almost nothing, or when it adds a lot it's through exposition in scenes where NOBODY would discuss family problems.
Other things that go wrong? The director doesn't seem to know what to do and the editing is super erratic. The film varies from 30 to 30 seconds of scenery and with that, the rhythm of the action also varies. The excessive use of the shaky cam also does nothing good, as we often see nothing of what is happening on the screen. Is there still room for more critics? Well, there is definitely an excessive melodrama throughout with scenes dragging on endlessly.
In short, this had everything to go right, but almost everything went wrong. It's hard for me to speak well of a movie in which the creature emits a sound that shakes an entire movie theater but is only seen or heard by people when it's half a meter away from them (and they can hear the screams from people being attacked!). It would be hard for me to believe that in a situation like this, the population would behave that way, with many pretending to run and most walking calmly. Invest in good scripts, people, and make it make sense!