Studio: Gravitas Ventures
Director: Marcus Nash
Writer: Marcus Nash, David Clair
Producer: David Clair
Stars: John Shartzer, Katie Keene, Pat McNeely, Ezra Buzzington
A young couple searches for a ghost-hunting relative in the abandoned town of Lost Lake, only to become caught in a ghost story of their own.
Indeed, the lake is most definitely lost, as there is not a drop of liquid, much less a full body of water, to be found anywhere in the film. Lost Lake is actually a California ghost town off the highway towards Death Valley and “Lost Lake” is a ghost story set in the titular locale. “Lost Lake” is serviceable for a low budget indie, but there is depth absent from the story and scope missing from the production that prevent the movie from being something better than merely adequate.
The plot involves young cutie Tricia, who enlists the help of her fiancé Jeff to track down her ghost hunting uncle Vern, whose last known whereabouts were somewhere in Lost Lake. The soon-to-be-married couple finds the kooky relative, but the trio ends up embroiled in a ghost story involving a vengeful witch who once plagued the haunted town.
The poster gives the impression of “Lost Lake” being a slasher, when only one body drops until the closing minutes of the film. Really, the story primarily involves just the three principles bounding around a ghost town. Aside from a wrinkled old crone who never utters a word but plays an important supporting role, every brief scene that includes any other characters or dialogue can be discarded and forgotten completely.
Katie Keene and John Shartzer fit their parts fine. And Ezra Buzzington hits the right notes as the weirdo uncle. They come close to carrying the movie by themselves, but “Lost Lake” chokes whenever its compact story hits a lull. And that is something that happens often.
There is not a great deal of muscle to stretch across the thin skeleton that comprises “Lost Lake.” Although there is extraneous fat in the form of various cars that refuse to start, hiding in dark corners while waiting for a pursuer to pass, and myriad other moments seemingly designed solely to fill up the eighty minutes.
The pace becomes as dry as the arid desert location when the movie is killing time. Even with a perfect setting, the jump scares are scarce and the whole mythology behind the haunting comes off as another missed opportunity. Desperate to inject some horror, a murder that opens the film is one more peg shoved into the square hole of things that do not fit. That theme of scenes and elements wedged forcefully into the movie carries into the story, as well. Details regarding the plot twist come with more questions than answers and the constant running from danger wears out its welcome in short order.
According to a story reported in the Los Angeles Times, producer David Clair was working on another project in the Mojave Desert when he came upon the abandoned town of Trona. With the desolate landscape and dilapidated structures in mind as an ideally creepy shooting location, he and his filmmaking partner Marcus Nash worked a story around the setting. Low budget moviemaking often necessitates building from what is accessible and available. But “Lost Lake” shows the seams of putting the cart before the horse with a story that does feel developed second to everything else. As a result, “Lost Lake” ends up playing out as a decent short story idea pulled like a taffy rope into a mediocre feature film.
NOTE: "Lost Lake" was previously known by the title “Terror at Lost Lake.”
Review Score: 50