Plot: Tabitha (Anja Knebl) is new in town and she definitely stands out, but she just wants to settle in, find work, and get used to her new locale. As she is Romanian, some of the girls at her school poke fun at her and call her a gypsy, but Tabitha brushes it off and even manages to find a job at a local gift shop. While the cheerleaders don’t seem to like her, she does attract some attention from the school’s football star, which enrages the head cheerleader. In an effort to teach Tabitha a lesson, the cheerleaders invite her out for a late night swim, then once she is undressed and in the water, drive off and leave her behind. But that’s not all, as she was also drugged by the cruel head cheerleader and when some shady local losers arrive, she is barely able to stand. The two try to rape her, but she resists and one of them chokes her to shut her up, which leads to her being killed in the attack. The next day, she is reported missing and no one is willing to talk, but soon vivid nightmares and unexplained events start to unfold…
Entertainment Value: Beware the Lake spins a familiar narrative, but it is well told and is a simple, but solid horror movie. The opening scenes attempt to establish some lore, but run slow and make an ineffective start to the flick. But once we’re in modern times and the story focuses in on Tabitha, things pick up and the movie starts to find a good pace. Tabitha is a clear outsider in countless ways, as a Romanian in a white bread town, a raven haired girl in a sea of blondes, and a decent person whereas her foil is a stuck up, self centered bitch. She’s an interesting and likable character, played with a kind of awkward charm by Anja Knebl. Her performance isn’t polished, but it feels natural and has a nervous energy that suits her character. I think she has a great presence and hope to see her in more projects down the road. The rest of the cast is fine, with Jonathan Lipnicki, Allison Marie Volk, Audrey Walters, and Vivienne Bernsin. As I said, the story here walks well worn ground and the movie is quite predictable, but it is still well made and holds your attention. Knebl’s performance also helps, as she is charming before death and quite eerie when she returns from the grave. So if you like tales of supernatural vengeance, Beware the Lake is worth a look.
No nakedness. The movie centers on an undead, very moist goth girl, but no sexual content is present here. Although the local police seem to think every crime is somehow related to an abhorrent sex act of some kind. There’s some minor blood, but it is very minimal and never graphic. So while the creepy hot chick is fun, the kills are rather bland in most cases and bloodless. But we do get a kiddie pool death, followed by the police asking if the victim was a strong swimmer. The horror here is more jump scares and the eerie visual of our living dead girl, not rampant bloodshed. The dialogue is fine, but not much that stands out. The police have some humorous lines and the local hicks provide a one liner or two, but that’s about it. The writing isn’t bad, it just doesn’t get too wild or outlandish. The same holds true for the general craziness, with a few minor instances of wackiness, but overall not much.
Overall Insanity: 1/10