CRAZY LAKE * USA 2016 Dir: Jason Henne, Christopher Leto 80 mins
Complete with the oft-quoted TEXAS CHAIN SAW roadkill shot and WRONG TURN-style barbed wire garrotting, this is an unambitious cabin-in-the-woods slasher film. The obligatory campfire exposition is delivered by a stoned loser who explains the dark history of the eponymous location (badly treated mental patients were drowned in the lake) before a lame false scare precedes a genuine killer interrupting a tent shag. Offering a hint of things to come, the first female character is introduced via lingering shots of her arse and cleavage; it seems an after-thought to reveal her face. CRAZY LAKE apes the conventions of vintage 1980’s American slasher movies (strip poker sessions, a creepy red herring Christian caretaker, old-school kills) but fatally forgets to include any likeable, recognisably human characters.
We get young couples who look like Gap models, and girls introduced in arduously extended slo-mo Shampoo commercial-styled scenes; later, endless party-montages are shot and cut like particularly obnoxious music videos and designed to let us bask in the glory of beautiful bodies. In this alternate, Body-Fascist vision of our reality, people actually say “Let’s get fucked up” and a typical conversation between girls (when they’re not randomly getting off with each other) is about each other’s boobs. Inevitably, the girl with no boyfriend wears glasses and her hair in a ponytail, refuses to dress like a Hollywood Boulevard hooker and reads books. The movie telegraphs its plot “twist”, tediously borrows from SCREAM for its two-killer revelation and annoying nudge-nudge dialogue (“Jesus, that was like a frigging horror movie!”) and limps off into the sunset with a drably cynical ending that would be slightly startling if we actually cared about the fate of any of the breathing mannequins involved.
Review by Steven West