House By The Lake, An Indie Fairytale Horror We’ve Waited For
House By The Lake Film Details
Director: Adam Gierasch
Release Date: October 10th
Release Format: VOD and DVD
MPAA Rating: N/A
Running Time: 77 min
A struggling couple, Scott and Karen, pack up their troubled young daughter and head to a picturesque lake house to reconnect and put their problems behind them. As Emma spends time with her new nanny, the little girl begins fixating on an imaginary friend she calls the Fish Man. Karen’s fear of the strange man down the beach, Emma’s fear of the water and her recurring sleepwalking continue to raise tensions in the house and drive a wedge between Scott and Karen until one night Emma disappears. When she’s found breathing underwater in the tub, Emma insists she’s been with the Fish Man. And he’s coming back for her.
Veteran genre director Adam Gierasch directs House by The Lake and is written by newcomer Josh Burnell. The Film Stars:
The film will debut on Cable VOD, Digital HD and DVD on October 10th.
After watching the trailer and reviewing it early this week I was stoked to have the opportunity to review House by The Lake on its full feature length. It’s old school drama mixed with horror but House by The Lake is at its core. A tale about a young girl with autism searching for being understood and deciding to live her life in her own way. It’s beautiful in its own way, and kind of poetic.
I liked House by The Lake. The shots are beautiful, warm and bright colors shine throughout the film. Visually, the film is superb, in particular, the scene where Emma and her mother Karen are sitting on the dock trying to reconnect. Amazing setting and it feels great to watch an open space film where we go where the characters are and we feel right at home with them. Even the opening credits demonstrate how much Adam Gierasch loves filmmaking and has an eye for photography. The still frame integrated into it while the title shows up for the first time it’s perfect and reflects the film on its own.
I was right when I reviewed the trailer earlier; the film uses practical effects. The scenes with the creature aren’t that many, they’re only near the end but after watching the film you kind of understand why everything becomes narrowed down to this special moment where Emma wants to be with the Fish Man, as she calls it.
The mystery around the character is precious, it reflects how much children live their own world and have their imaginary friends. How the film portrays these moments is outstanding, even us, as a viewer, we aren’t sure if Fish Man is real or not. Is it really? Or is it only on Emma’s mind to get attention from her parents who are always fighting over her and her condition? Well, the film answers these questions and leaves your mouth open wide with an utter mature and shocking finale. The last scene portrays how much parenting is difficult and relationships are hard to keep together. It’s a shocking finale you won’t expect at all.
One other thing I liked about House by The Lake is how the story may seem to be around of Emma and her desire of being understood but it revolves around Karen and her fears of being a good mother, wife, and lover. How the story arcs intertwine with each other was interesting, and you become invested in every single character.
House by The Lake has its flaws and they were distracting although being immersive and completely engaged in its whole spectrum. Karen’s wardrobe was inappropriate for a woman her caliber and age. It was like she was sixteen years old. The bright colors were distracting and not discreet on screen. I can’t figure out if it was the director’s idea since the character isn’t mom-a-like but her relationship with her daughter wasn’t palpable at all.
Karen has breakdowns, more than one actually, where the other characters think she is just overreacting about Emma’s reactions to her. Even though we know she has problems connecting with her daughter, Anne Dudek’s performance felt limited and I felt no chemistry with her fellow actors on screen. That was distracting also since there were many times for her to shine but she didn’t deliver that much.
All the performances were fair, but none of them stood out, though near the end everyone seemed committed and I did care about what was going on with everyone. That fact is what I liked, and I felt pleased by their reaction at the end.
Another little problem I had with the film was the sound editing. At times I had to turn up the volume and right after turn it down since the volume of the score was too loud compared to the characters’ dialogues. It hurt the dramatic moments or even the suspenseful ones.
House by The Lake has a surprising end to a dramatic story, but it had moments of cliché and predictable arcs. The one with the nanny (Natasha Bassett) being too comfortable at home with Scott and him and Karen having intimate problems and always fighting, I was hoping the film wouldn’t come to this, but it did… Not in a long way, no, so that was surprising, but the film had those cringe-worthy moments where Scott spends time with the nanny while Karen is worried about her daughter and not being understood by her husband. I would’ve dismissed these moments, they weren’t that important for the story and I’m happy it didn’t really create an affair, so I can let this one go.
4. In Conclusion
I didn’t write that much about horror because this film isn’t about that but although it has no jump scares the skin crawls when you’re watching the finale. The film stands out on its own and it’s a great effort from everyone involved. I’m glad I watched this and you can expect gore near the end and some awesome practical effects. It’s like I was watching an old school horror fairytale brought to life and at the same time, it’s so much more than that. House By The Lake is worth a watch in every way possible.
Click for information on rating metric: 0-10 Avoid | 11-20 Mediocre | 21-30 Good | 31-40 Average | 41-50 Satisfactory | 51-60 Stunning | 61-70 Terrific | 71-80 Must See | 81-90 Amazing | 91-100 Impressive