Studio: Osiris Entertainment
Director: Deshon Hardy
Writer: Deshon Hardy
Producer: Aram Spike Bauman
Stars: Leah Jones, Richard Ryker, Ant Grant, India Autry, Matty Poslusny, Stephanie Marrone, Collin Jamison
A ghost terrorizes six friends partying at a remote cabin near a lake on the reportedly haunted Clinton Road.
It’s Alex’s birthday! So after watching a somehow readily-available online video of police interrogating a hysterical mother about drowning her son in a haunted lake, Alex and his girlfriend Jillian gather four college friends who look suspiciously older than 21 and head off for fun at a remote cabin on that same lake. Cue the cookie-cut montage of fist pumping, ass slapping, Solo cup swigging, and selfie video-taking set to music thumping the lyrics, “it’s time to party!”
Said party turns out to be a pretty lame celebration, which is apropos since the movie using it as a prelude is pretty lame, too. The simple sixsome merely chugs booze and listens to crappy tunes via more montages while carousing around a campfire, cavorting in the kitchen, and otherwise engaging in a birthday fete so uneventful, one wonders why they bothered driving from Massachusetts to New Jersey to holiday at what basically amounts to a scum-covered pond in the woods.
It’s not all yawn-worthy fun and zero games, though. Clinton Road is supposedly cursed. And the ghost boy who died in its shallow waters has a paranormal bone to pick with the houseguests, one of whom has a convenient connection to the tragedy, of course. Following still more montage moments of football tossing dudes and slow-motion sequences of wet workout girls, a supernatural specter pops up to possess, murder, and torment the sextet one at a time.
“The Lake on Clinton Road” tries squeezing additional mileage out of its “based on true events” tagline. The “truth” is that there actually is a Clinton Road in New Jersey. The “events” are supposed sightings of ghost children and ghost vehicles proffered by paranormal enthusiasts with suspect explanations for shapes in the shadows encountered at night on a dark road. Urban folklore doesn’t even offer a worthwhile origin story behind either the phantom boy or the phantom truck at the heart of the haunting. Neither does “The Lake on Clinton Road.”
Limping through the motions of patching up a plotline, some loose points are dotted involving apparitions, trances, inexplicable vanishings, and secret family histories. Yet any line connecting those dots is just as much of an intangible entity as the pint-sized poltergeist barking “boo!” at Alex and his boring buds.
One of the bland characters likens himself to Turtle from “Entourage,” if that offers any indication as to the level of hipness in their personalities. Another presumes his girlfriend left on foot without saying goodbye after hearing her scream and finding her missing, if that says anything about the depth of intelligence motivating everyone’s actions.
“The Lake on Clinton Road” doesn’t have a gaffer or an electric department listed in its credits. In fact, excluding the actors and actresses, less than 10 people in total are credited as having participated in the film’s production. That explains why every scene is seemingly lit by whatever household bulbs and ambient light happened to be bouncing around at the time, resulting in a visual look nearly as flat as the script.
Astonishingly, two people are listed as being responsible for the sound. Considering that constitutes about 25% of the film’s staff, you would think the audio end of things might be manned well enough to avoid simple technical gaffes like dialogue spiking into ear-piercing garbles whenever someone screams a party-hearty “whoo!” Apparently not.
The credits also identify the existence of a screenplay, although if the cast read it, they do an excellent job of hiding that fact through rhythmless line delivery that sounds more like uninspired improvisation than anything resembling rehearsed theatrics or off-book abilities. Take a rodeo lasso and rope in a camera that cannot keep off lead actress Leah Jones’ ass, a bloated seven-minute post-credits scene pointlessly padding the runtime, and an assembly line attitude towards crafting a low-level motion picture, and the result is a movie so flavorless, it cannot even be described as vanilla.
NOTE: There is a post-credits scene.
Review Score: 15