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House by the Lake (2017) - Movie Review

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House by the Lake (2017) - Blu-ray Review

5 beersThere is an unsettling darkness that washes out over the lake at the center of this haunted tale.  With plenty of warnings and a bunch of drawings thanks the talents of a small child, we shouldn’t really be surprised when a strange figure emerges from the water and steps foot onto its muddy shore.  But we are because creature features, these days, are never handled this seriously.  And the lengths at which this strange beast travels to lay claim to its victim is yet another shocker in House by the Lake.

Directed genre scribe Adam Gierasch (Tales of Halloween, Fertile Ground) and written by newcomer Josh Burnell, House by the Lake is an effective domestic chiller as one unhappy couple, Scott (Battlestar Galactica’s James Callis) and Karen (Anne Dudek from Covert Affair), attempt to fix their marriage by bringing their troubled young daughter, Emma (Amiah Miller), to a lakeside cabin that has been in Scott’s family for a long time. 

They are, well at least Scott is, thinking fun and sun and anything else that might help with their daughter’s spectrum behavior.  A change of scenery, you know.  It’s simple enough to imagine and yet, thanks to a percolating anxiety the never seems to end – no doubt increased by the strange man (Michael Bowen from Breaking Bad) further down the way – the poor family never has a shot at remaining in tact.

Even the arrival of Emma’s hot new nanny, Gwen (Hail Caesar!’s Natasha Bassett), causes more tension in the vacationing household than expected.  Gwen doesn’t try to catch Scott’s eye.  She doesn’t have to but Scott’s no dummy; he wants his wife.  Thankfully, Burnell doesn’t set his sights on an affair between the two and lets only one lingering glimpse pass between the two, even if there’s more than one fleshy tease from Gwen.   

Emma is happy with Gwen but Karen is a bit suspicious of her beauty and Scott, who tries to rekindle his very cold relationship with his wife, gets caught in a battle he never expected when that man down the beach begins to show interest in his little girl and wants her to look at the fish in his aquarium.  All the while, no one pays much attention to the drawings Emma leaves around the house.  They should because, through that artwork, she is telling them something very important.

And it’s all about to go down in a very unexpected way.

While there’s nothing too remarkable about Gierasch’s direction, the script – deciding initially to trope around as a horror film – does some pretty interesting things with its main characters and, after a quick tease of what’s to come when Emma goes missing, it doesn’t have a problem leaving you with some lingering questions.  That’s good because we severely need some brave storytelling and its not likely to happen with mainstream movies.

Unfortunately, House by the Lake takes itself way too seriously throughout most of the film before revealing its true colors as a creature feature.  This is a low budget film and it does a lot of things remarkably well on a dime; we just needed more than a couple of chuckles before its true identity took shape.  Perhaps it’d have lost some of that ultra seriousness but we’d have had an evenly paced product as a whole. 

House by the Lake, released by Random Media, opens its doors nationwide on cable VOD, Digital HD, and DVD on October 10th.  The Fish Man wants to play...with you!

House by the Lake (2017) - Blu-ray Review

MPAA Rating:
77 mins
: Adam Gierasch
Josh Burnell
Anne Dudek, James Callis, Michael Bowen
: Horror
Something's coming.
Memorable Movie Quote: "How do you like my lake?"
Theatrical Distributor:

Official Site:
Release Date:
October 10, 2017
DVD/Blu-ray/Home Video Release Date:
October 10, 2017
Synopsis: Story follows the Morgans, a loving yet troubled family hoping to reconnect while on vacation. When their autistic 10-year-old daughter (Miller) begins to fixate on a mysterious friend who may or may not be real, she retreats further into her own world and family tensions rise to the surface.

House by the Lake (2017) - Blu-ray Review

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