Directed by Ansel Faraj [Other horror films: Three Shadows (2010), Mr. Twistedface (2011), Hunters of the Dark (2011), The Last Case of August T. Harrison (2015), The Night-Time Winds (2017)]
There are times when I sort of liked what Loon Lake was going for – a somewhat somber, slow-moving flick about a man who recently lost his wife and faith dealing with a witch in a small town, utilizing flashbacks to show the witch’s story – and though I did like the tone of this one, and the somewhat sparse setting, I don’t know if it’s ultimately memorable.
I do think that star Nathan Wilson did a great job playing a rather aimless guy. He had a sort of standoffish personality, and I thought it really fit with the trials he was going through. David Selby, though, who pulled double duty and played two distinctly different characters, is probably the best of the bunch. His portrayal of Emery reminded me quite a bit of Fred Gwynne’s Jud from Pet Sematary. As either a witch or a misunderstood girl, Kelly Erin Decker put in a good performance, and though her character didn’t add near as much as I thought she would, Brittany Benjamin was solid too.
Loon Lake does have an amateurish quality to it, but I think it works out well regardless. This may partially be due to being filmed in the (real) small Minnesota town of Round Lake, and that small town vibe really comes through here. The camera-work here is pretty solid, and there are a few decent scenes, so that helps.
The problem is that the story, while interesting to a point, sort of runs into a stalemate once the main character starts battling whether or not the things he’s witnessing and experiencing are just his imagination run amok or something more. It’s that psychological horror that can be okay, but when it takes up the bulk of the second half, it doesn’t quite do as much for me. I did sort of like the fake-out ending toward the conclusion, and the conclusion itself was decent, but overall, I was more lukewarm toward this than anything else.
Personally, I think Loon Lake is an okay movie. It never felt too generically Hollywood in it’s encapsulation of jump scares, and for lack of a better term, it felt genuine. The issues of faith and religion are dealt with in a somewhat unsatisfactory way, but I still think the movie was okay. Problematically, there’s not much that really stands out about Loon Lake, though, so while it was decent for a single watch, this isn’t one I can imagine many people doing back to, which is like to be it’s downfall.
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