The Lake (1998)

If you asked me what The Lake reminds me of more than anything else, my first thought would be a certain Science Fiction film from 1956.

However, after a moment’s consideration, I would instead say the sort of serious TV drama NBC was making back in the Nineties.

After all, we have the tough, talented professional girl going home to see her dying alcoholic father whom she hasn’t seen in years. We even have the reunion with the boy she left behind.

But before we get quite that far, she hits a man with her car, only to have the local police haul him away without even asking her name!

Then, of course, her father suddenly get completely well. There’s the usual weird behavior of the people around her, the usual hints of conspiracies, and glimpses of something sinister in the local lake.

All this shoves the drama off center stage eventually, even if it does get tied back in at the end. Sort of.

There is a rather routine TV show quality to this one, although it’s hard to define exactly as the production values are relatively high. But then that was fairly typical of the era’s small screen offerings, when I think about it. The effects were kept to a minimum, but that fits nicely with the story they were telling.

I do find it intriguing that the secret of what’s going on proves to be quite different from what I expected. It’s more like a certain story by John Varley (which was filmed nine years earlier) than it is like that 1956 film or the Jack Finney novelette that inspired it. It’s a welcome twist and does make this one stand out a bit from the herd. Although the ending is a direct steal from that classic Don Seigel film.

You never know what you’ll unearth when you unearth a long forgotten film like this. In this case it is a more or less routine effort with a few interesting touches, a bit of drama, and a nice twist. It is moderately exciting, but not spectacular — and well enough made not to leave too much room for sarcasm.

It’s not a bad way to pass the time.

But that’s about it.



And check out our new Feature (Updated May 16, 2019):

The Rivets Zone:  The Best SF Movies You’ve Never Seen!

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