Dir. Lee Thongkham & Aqing Xu (2022)
When a ginormous egg is brought back into the village, an even larger monster attacks, causing locals to flee in terror and the government to attempt to fight back.
CAUTION: MAY CONTAIN SPOILERS
I don’t know how many times this needs to be said, but it seems that the more monster movies I watch, the more I’m left with one simple directive that could solve a lot of these peoples’ problems: Stop. Taking. Monster. Eggs. If you see a giant egg that clearly belongs to a monster, leave it the fuck alone and just move. In the new film The Lake from Epic Pictures, a little girl who lives in a remote village in Thailand doesn’t follow this advice and instead brings a giant egg that she finds back to her village. She disobeys her mother’s commands to leave the egg be, and mama monster doesn’t like this very much. She rises from the lake (which I suppose is fitting) and wreaks havoc, killing villagers indiscriminately and causing locals to immediately try to evacuate the area. Later, after the egg hatches, the baby-monster-which-is-still-pretty-big makes its way into the city, where it comes face to face with the local government and city residents, who somehow manage to capture the monster after it kills a whole lot of them. That’s right: the city takes the baby a second time. Mama monster is, once again, not very pleased with these actions, and goes on an all-out destruction tour to get her child back.
That’s all pretty par for the course in a creature feature, and there’s not a whole lot about The Lake that isn’t, to be honest. There’s a bit in there about government propaganda, lying directly to the populace to make them think that all of these tales of a giant killing machine is just local folklore and never even happened, another in the long string of monster movies being used as a critique of government and societal problems. All that said, let’s be a little honest here with ourselves: you’re not watching this movie to see inventive takes on age-old concept, you’re watching it for badass monsters and copious bloodshed, and The Lake delivers that in spades. The plot isn’t particularly linear at times, and a good bit of the story doesn’t make too much sense, but the monster is badass-as-hell and well worth the price of admission.
The creature effects are, indeed, fantastic, reminiscent of Jurassic Park on a smaller scale. Even better, the effects are all practical, which gives the monster a look that leaps off of the screen and looks like something you could actually imagine coming from a local body of water. While there’s no city destruction that you’d normally see in a Kaiju movie (and, to be fair, the monster in The Lake is much, much smaller than his other Asian kin), there are a ton of great scenes where people are thrown around and cut to pieces that the makers of those other films wish that they had had the ability to put on film. This is more of an American creature feature, and while its based around folklore local to the region, thematically its not all that dissimilar from something like Cloverfield.
While The Lake is a little jumbled at times, it’s a decent creature feature that fans of the genre will appreciate. It doesn’t, in almost any way, try to be a drama, instead choosing to fill most of its runtime with monster attacks and destruction. If you’re looking for a film that hits the creature feature high points without worrying too much about the normal social critique that’s usually present in films like Piranha and the like, The Lake might be right up your alley. As a huge fan of monster movies, it was certainly right up mine.
Who this movie is for: Creature feature fans, Asian monster lovers,
Bottom line: Filled to the gills (get it?) with monster mayhem and some fantastic creature design, The Lake is a decent creature feature that is well worth a watch for fans of the genre. It wears its inspirations on its sleeve, and more than once I found specific shots that are lifted almost directly from the first Jurassic Park. That’s not me complaining, by the way, because those movies were fucking awesome. It’s a direct-to-video film from Dread and Epic Pictures, and you can find out where to stream or buy the film on their website at epic-pictures.com/film/The-Lake. The blu-ray is out May 16th, and if you’re a monster movie fan, I highly recommend checking it out