TCFF 2016 Review: Lake Runs Red

Written by The Vern

College students Lauren (Kaci Wegleitner) and Melissa (Lauren Morris) are on their way to spend a weekend with Lauren’s parents at their lake house. They brought their swim suits, they brought their shades, and they brought along some creepy guy who has been following them for the entire trip. Who is this guy and what does he want with them? It’s pretty clear that Bruce (C.J. Devaan) has no desire to hang out the lake and relax with Lauren and Melissa unless it’s with their blood on him.

When I saw the trailer for this, I was very impressed. It reminded me a little bit of Duel mixed with elements of Death Proof and basically any home-invasion movie that involved a cabin and a guy with a big knife. From those two minutes, we understand that two girls are on their way for a vacation and that some guy is stalking them. Since this is a horror film, we can gather that it’s not going to be to sell Amway but it will still be terrifying. However, if you have never seen any trailers and just walked in cold like I did, you would be very much in the dark because Lake Runs Red is presented in a non-linear style.

The movie starts right when Bruce is doing all of his slasher tricks to the family before we even get the chance to know them. I understand getting to the big kill scene is essential in these kind of movies, but we still want to know who it is that is being slaughtered. This way we can either cheer or complain about the outcome. The movie then rewinds back to an earlier segment when the girls driving to the cabin. It doesn’t just cut to that moment. The film actually shows itself rewinding to that particular scene, as if someone was editing this with two VCR’s hooked up to each other. All throughout this movie there’s a scene where Melissa is trying to avoid Bruce and then it jumps back to a scene where the two are enjoying their time on vacation. It even shows the same invasion twice in the same film and gives nothing different each time. Bruce kills Lauren’s parents and puts her in the trunk of his car. We may have gotten a few extra moments with Paul, Lauren’s Dad (Michael Hertenstien), loading his gun but it felt unnecessary. There are also a series of title cards that were also confusing.

While we may not noticed it, and if you think about it we really shouldn’t because we should never see cuts that happen in movies, editing plays a major role in narrative films especially horror ones. Imagine for example in Alien if it started with the character of Dallas going through the vents and the creature killing him, cut to the crew entering the Nostromo, then back to the monster busting out of Kane’s stomach, ending on them finding the lair of all the eggs. It would lose all the sense of horror and suspense the movie had.

Lake Runs Red has some good performances by Lauren Morris and Kaci Wegleitner. Lauren’s scene with C.J. at a gas station and a warehouse was a good cat and mouse scenario. I wish it had more of those elements than it did.

There is a good movie inside of Lake Runs Red, so I don’t want to dismiss it, and if they do a version that is linear, I may have to check it one out again.

This is one of many movies being shown at Twin Cities Film Fest. Learn more by visiting their site.

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