Widowed artist Kate (Meredith Majors) moves into an old lakeside home after the death of her husband. She notices quickly that everything has been kept as it was when the previous owner resided there.
After rescuing a little girl's cat from underneath the house, it is whispered into Kate's ear that she is not alone, just as the child runs off. Other people arriving at the home also seem distracted by something in the window.
Meeting eccentric neighbour Eliza (Betsy Baker) proves interesting for Kate, as she has knowledge of the house's earlier inhabitant: an archaeologist who died while on the verge of a 'big discovery'. Kate explores and finds his journal, offering vague details about a locket and an experiment he wrote about himself wanting to test.
Meanwhile, ghostly goings on are causing sleepless nights and increasingly bizarre nightmares for Kate; flickering lights, electronics working by themselves, etc.
As the strangeness continues, Eliza's niece Autumn (Anne Leigh Cooper) is soon to arrive, her interest in the late archaeologist's work attracting her.
What does she know that Kate doesn't? Are the historian's notes somehow linked to the odd happenings in the house? And is she really alone?
Chris Majors' directorial debut LAKE EERIE begins confidently, taking its time introducing the characters and trying to set up a creepy atmosphere before things really start happening. A number of issues, however, spoil what could've been a memorable, interesting little film.
Majors (the actress) fails to captivate as the lead, her delivery never bringing energy to the already wooden script. Baker is more compelling as the sweet old lady next door, even managing to elicit a few chuckles from me. But for the most part, this film is not a comedy, and it wants to be acted seriously. Unfortunately, there are no standouts in this one. Even Lance Henriksen (playing the role of Majors' father) can't distract from the rest of the lacklustre cast. Smaller characters are needlessly rude (the sexist removal man; the cheeky electrician) and just don't fit.
The direction is adequate, the editing mostly tight. Jump scares are poorly done and thus fail to scare, but thankfully there are few. Occasional shots of the titular lake are attractive, but pointless. As for the rest of the cinematography, there's little worth commenting on.
Harry Manfredini's score is decent, but out of place. Moments undeserving of great attention are accompanied by the confusingly lively soundtrack. Tension in the chase scenes is non-existent, thanks to this.
LAKE EERIE comes to region-free DVD via MVD Visual.
The disc opens to a static main menu. The scene selection menu presents 27 chapters of the film.
A setup menu offers English subtitles, and the choice of 5.1 or 2.0 audio.
There are no on-disc extras, but the back of the DVD tells us to visit lakeeeriemovie.com for special features 'and more'. The home page plays a 1-minute trailer. An info page provides details on the cast and facts about the location (the real house is supposedly haunted!) 'Cast and Crew' gives us a tiny bit of info about each person involved. The gallery offers pictures taken at various film festivals, as well as behind the scenes images.
LAKE EERIE has a story that could've been good, great even. But it's brought down by bad acting, messy pacing and an absolute lack of scares.
A poor effort. I won't be watching again.
Review by Elliott Moran
|Released by MVD Visual|