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!