REVIEW: Harvest Lake (2016)

If there was ever a movie that one could consider the rock supergroup of the indie film world, then Harvest Lake would be it.

Written and directed by Scott Shirmer, the man behind one of horror’s most thrilling features in recent memory, Found., Harvest Lake also was worked on by a whose-who of talented filmmakers, including producer/editor/cinematographer Brian K. Williams (Time To Kill), visual effects artist Dustin Wayde Mills (Her Name Was Torment), special effects gurus Shane Beasley and Arthur Cullipher (Headless), plus an incredible cast covering a large range of indie flicks.

So with a masterful of creative people behind and in front of the camera, I was well assured that Lake would not be a letdown. Thankfully, I was not disappointed. There’s something to be said for very independent movies that feel like they are major productions, and Harvest Lake delivers on all fronts.
Following four friends who are on a birthday trip to a secluded lakeside cabin, the movie could have just as easily been called Horny Lake, as the story revolves around the disturbing force and creature that inhabits the area, which seems to make everyone’s inhibitions fall to an all-time low.

Weird, alien-like plants that are extremely erotic in their own right ooze sexual goos, seemingly drawing in anyone who happens upon them in the woods. Couple the surroundings with drugs and alcohol, and we’re treated to a smorgasbord of flesh, culminating in one of the most bizarre, yet oddly, disturbingly, arousing finales of recent memory.

Standout performances all around, including by underground scream queens Ellie Church and Tristan Risk, but I have to give props to Kevin Roach, who recently starred in the online short film The Confession of Fred Krueger as the title character, and was amazing; he is equally great in this, and his character is, as they all are, is both funny and sexually charged. The chemistry between the characters is perfect, and unlike many “buddy horrors” where a group of twenty-somethings take a trip together, we aren’t made to purposely hate any of them in hopes that they’ll die a gruesome death.

If you’re looking to see another Found, this definitely ain’t it. More of a dark, disturbing, slow-burn, sexual sci-fi than a horror, Schirmer’s Harvest Lake is yet another top-notch add to his impressive, growing IMDb resume. In a horror world where everyone is talking about films like It Follows or The Witch breathing new life into a stale genre, there should be more people talking about Harvest Lake. It’s not just a masterpiece of independent film, it’s an incredible addition to the world of horror films as a whole.

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