The Lake Is a Giant-Sized Good Time

Anybody who knows my taste in movies knows I’m a huge kaiju fanatic. If a film gives me a giant monster stomping through a city with no regard for the puny humans standing in its way, I’m a happy man. So naturally, when I first heard about The Lake, I knew I had to check this movie out. Unfortunately, it didn’t have a US release date yet, so I didn’t know when I’d get the chance to see it. I spent 10 long months anxiously awaiting news about the film, and last month, we finally got word that The Lake was getting a stateside release. I requested a screener as soon as I could, and after getting the chance to see it, I’m happy to say it was totally worth the wait.

The Lake was directed by Aqing Xu and Lee Thongkham, and it stars Lamyai Haithongkham, Sushar Manaying, Teerapat Satjakul, Thanachart Tulyachart, Vithaya Pansringarm, and Wanmai Chatborirak. It’s set in Thailand, and it’s about a couple of terrifying monsters that emerge from a lake after a mysterious egg washes up on the lake’s shore. One of these creatures is just a baby, so while it kills its fair share of unsuspecting victims, it’s not quite as unstoppable as giant monsters typically are. But the other one, its parent, is a whole different ball game. This thing is massive, and the people in its way are completely helpless to stop it.

Like most kaiju movies, The Lake is pretty much a style-over-substance monsterfest, so if you’re looking for a deep story that uses its monsters to explore the complexities of the human condition, this isn’t the film for you. To be fair, it tries to convey a heartwarming message, but it doesn’t really work. The message gets lost in all the monster mayhem, so when it comes to the fore, it feels a bit shoehorned in. Sure, I get what the filmmakers were going for, but the movie just doesn’t pack the kind of emotional punch needed to make its message effective.

A woman looking worried.

Along similar lines, none of the human characters in this film are particularly interesting. In fact, they feel more like placeholders than real people. They’re just there to move the narrative along and hold you over until you can get back to the kaiju action, and in that regard, they’re decent enough. They don’t really add anything to the movie, but they don’t ruin it either. They’re just good enough that you can tolerate them until the monsters show up again, and even though I would’ve preferred a more robust human story, I’m okay with what I got. This kind of paper-thin human element is pretty much par for the course with kaiju films, so in all honesty, I wasn’t really expecting anything more.

However, there is one part of The Lake that I really didn’t like. The first 20 minutes or so are pretty much non-stop monster action, but once we hit the 20-minute mark, the movie slows down quite a bit and begins to focus more on the humans. Predictably, since these characters are pretty bland, this section of the film is a real slog to get through, and it made me check my watch a few more times than I would’ve liked. But thankfully, that only lasts for about 20 minutes, and after that, The Lake gets back on track. It starts to focus on the monsters again, and the rest of the movie is pretty awesome.

Now that we’ve gotten the boring human stuff out of the way, let’s talk about the real stars of the show, the monsters. Both of these creatures are brought to life by a mix of practical effects and CGI, and for the most part, they look pretty good. Granted, there are a few times when the CGI is a bit cringey, but by and large, I had no problem believing that these monsters really were on the loose.

People in a car looking scared.

Because of that, the action in The Lake is pretty awesome. For starters, the baby creature wreaks havoc in a way that’s very reminiscent of the monster in The Host, and if you’ve seen that movie, you know how big a compliment that is. This thing is absolutely ruthless, so when it goes on the attack, its victims don’t stand a chance.

Then, when the creature’s giant-sized parent enters the fray, the film changes gears and takes on a different tone. While this monster is much more formidable than its smaller counterpart, it’s not nearly as violent. It doesn’t kill people indiscriminately, so its scenes are more about tension and suspense than mayhem and destruction. But don’t get the wrong idea. This creature is still utterly terrifying, so whenever it’s on screen, you can’t help but hold your breath and hope for the best for the people who get in its way.

That being said, I did have one problem with this monster. As great as it was, I wanted it to cause a bit more classic kaiju destruction. Granted, I totally understand why the filmmakers took the route they did, but I really wish they would’ve let the monster show what it’s truly capable of.

However, in the grand scheme of things, that’s a relatively minor complaint, so on the whole, I had a really great time watching The Lake. It has two awesome monsters that each could’ve carried the movie on their own, so when you put them together, you get a super fun ride that any monster fan is sure to enjoy.

The Lake came out in limited theaters on March 10, and it’s set to hit VOD on March 14 and Blu-ray on May 16.

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Written by JP Nunez

JP Nunez is a lifelong horror fan. From a very early age, he learned to love monsters, ghosts, and all things spooky, and it's still his favorite genre today.

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