Awash in fuzzy tracking, intentionally out-of-sync audio and ads for products and films that don’t exist, Christopher Phelps and Maxim Van Scoy’s Lake Nowhere is a fun little experiment that sets out to recreate the experience of watching a bootleg horror movie. The filmmakers take great care in getting the overall aesthetic right: besides the already mentioned ads and trailers, there are times when what appears to be home movies taped over the film cut in. Unfortunately, once you get past these well-groomed details, Lake Nowhere begins to fall apart.
The set-up is deliberately familiar: a group of loud, horny friends go away to an isolated lakeside cabin, and the bodies pile up. There’s a supernatural bent to the slasher mayhem, which is a nice touch and results in some occasionally memorable imagery. But the performances through the film are far too stiff and forced. One could argue that this is intentional to fit with the low-budget nature of the project, but it’s far too distracting to sit through. There are moments when characters are endlessly spouting clearly improv-based dialogue that rambles together and becomes repetitive.
There’s enough schlocky charm to Lake Nowhere to please fans of the genre, and the filmmakers are clearly well-versed in the material they’re referencing. On top of this, one of the fake trailers — for a film called Harvest Man, about a farmer with a rather deadly crop — looks like it would make a great parody horror film of its own. At 51 minutes, Lake Nowhere doesn’t overstay its welcome, but one can’t help but wish just a little more thought had been put into the narrative and resulted in something with a little more blood in its veins. Lake Nowhere would make an pleasant enough double feature with the similarly constructed WNUF Halloween Special — something to pop-on during Halloween, and not be overly concerned if you miss a few scenes when you get up to answer the door for trick-or-treaters. As a loving tribute to the glory, gory days of VHS bootlegs, you’ll enjoy your trip to Lake Nowhere. Anyone looking for anything more, however, should visit elsewhere.