Maybe you've heard this one. Four smart-ass city kids wander into
the backwoods where they encounter inbred rednecks who rape and
torture the living daylights out of them. Their fate is foreshadowed
by an earlier encounter with half-witted masturbating yokels at a gas
Yeah, I know it's the same plot as about a zillion other films, but
this one does manage to come up with a twist. The four city-slickers
are lesbian cannibal witches.
Hey, I didn't say it was a GOOD twist.
The implication of this new element is that the victims get some
supernatural powers at midnight, which is when they give the rubes
back far worse than they got.
This film managed to get reviewed by three major New York
newspapers. How? For one reason or another, it was screened at one
theater in New York in late June, 2008. I suppose the filmmakers might
have thought at the time that a theatrical trial, however small, had
to be a good thing which might lead to a wider release or major cult
status. To the contrary. If a film like this goes straight to DVD, it
gets reviewed only by genre site specialists who expect this kind of
content, and the reviews are only read by people who are receptive to
this sort of material. The theatrical release meant that three
legitimate critics were enraged by having to sit through ninety
minutes of sheer garbage, and their resulting anger exposed the film's
faults to a wide audience.
As the New York reviewers duly noted, this film is just atrocious
if the filmmakers were taking it seriously. Any torture porn, even
when it is crafted well like Eli Roth's films, is difficult enough for
average people to watch because it's custom made for a unique target
audience, but there's probably no movie-going experience more
unpleasant than 90 minutes of grade-Z cheapjack torture porn. To make
matters worse, the film's revenge theme fails because the women are as
unpleasant as the rednecks, so there is no sense of audience empathy
for them when they are in danger, and no catharsis when they rise up
and give the hicks their comeuppance. "Bad guy against bad guy" is
just not an involving story line, which is why you seldom see it used
in wrestling, for example.
I couldn't figure out whether the scribes were right in saying that
this movie is the worst redneck torture porn movie of all time, or
whether the film appears lame because it was parodying lame movies. I
think it must have been the latter, because the characters are too
exaggerated, the dialogue too absurd, the violence too comically
Tromaesque, and the acting too weak and wooden for it to have been
anything but intentional. You can forgive the New York critics for
missing that fact because many other films in this genre, like House
of 1000 Corpses, already have their feet well inside the parody door,
but never actually cross the threshold.
If you take it as a joke, Wicked Lake might even give you a few
unpleasant laughs. In addition, the film is filled with enough extreme
exploitation content for genre fans, including plenty of dirty talk,
extreme levels of violence, and extensive female nudity from
attractive women. Oh, I'm not recommending the film. Far from it.
There were Old Testament plagues that were more pleasant to live
just saying that it's not actually an utterly incompetent horror
drama, but rather an extended joke that just didn't work.
Although that's not much better, is it?