It’s not a very smart pun, I know. Obviously, the real title of this Finnish horror thriller is Lake Bodom, a movie that came out in 2016 but had its wide release in 2017.
Regarded as one of the smartest horror films in recent years, Lake Bodom utilises an actual crime case that happened in the location of the same name in 1960, when two youngsters got stabbed to death. Following the investigation, a third 18-year-old boy who was in the tent with the victims was found innocent for lack of evidence.
In consequence, the movie revolves around four high-schoolers (two boys and two girls) who go camping in the same location some 40 years after the murders to find out if the Lake Bodom killer is just a legend or something more real.
What seems to be your typical slasher flick turned pretty quickly into something different (à la You’re Next) and the movie plays with the audience’s expectations related to the sub-genre.
However, my first big complaint toward the film is that it looks and feels very tropey: clearly, that’s what the director was going for in order to criticise said clichés. Unfortunately, utilising tiresome techniques to criticise tiresome techniques doesn’t always work – actually, does it ever?
Half way through, the big twist is revealed. I must say that it was truly clever and unexpected. Nonetheless, what happens before and after the crucial moment, is just plain boring, yawning material!
The pacing is dreadfully slow, to the point that an 84-minute long film feels as long as Blade Runner: 2049!
To me, it really seems the director had a great idea (the one he based the twist on) but didn’t know what else to do with the remaining 80 minutes of Lake Bodom. If you read some of my previous posts, you’d know that I honestly don’t mind horror films in which nothing happens (for instance, It Comes at Night and The Witch, 2016) as long as they keep the audience on the edge of their seat with great atmosphere, characters and an overall sense of menace.
Lake Bodom doesn’t achieve any of that and turns out as the most boring movie I’ve seen in a long time.
Unfortunately, the version of the movie I could put my hands on had terrible subtitles. It was translated so poorly that half of the time I had no idea what was going on: just to be clear, though, I didn’t downgrade the film because of that, since it’s not the movie fault. However, I probably have missed something throughout and, therefore, the ending(s) made very little sense to me.
Yet, the acting was bland at best and the characters very hollow, despite the director’s attempt to give them backstory and motivations.
In conclusion, Lake Bodom is a big let-down, a dull attempt to make an extremely clever film. Besides good camera-work, intriguing concept and surprising twist, this Finnish horror thriller has nothing to offer and would likely make you bored and frustrated. Cheers!