Falcon Lake Is a Great Drama Horror

Photo provided by Yellow Veil Pictures

I was really excited to check out Falcon Lake. I’m a big fan of drama horror, and the trailer for this movie made it look like a hauntingly beautiful coming-of-age story with a ghostly twist. It seemed right up my alley, so I jumped at the chance to review it. I requested a screener as soon as I could, and after getting the chance to watch it, I’m happy to report that it does not disappoint.

Falcon Lake was directed and co-written by Charlotte Le Bon, and it stars Joseph Engel, Sara Montpetit, Monia Chokri, Arthur Igual, Karine Gonthier-Hyndman, Thomas Laperrière, Anthony Therrien, Pierre-Luc Lafontaine, Lévi Doré, and Jeff Roop. It’s about a young French teenager named Bastien who goes to Quebec for vacation one summer with his family, and while there, he meets a girl named Chloe. The two kids hit it off pretty quickly, and the entire film is basically just the story of their budding relationship.

As you might be able to guess from that brief plot synopsis, Falcon Lake focuses primarily on the “drama” part of drama horror, and the horror plays second fiddle. In fact, it’s so light on horror that as I neared the end of it, I wondered if I’d even be able to review it here on Horror Obsessive. It’s pretty much just a straight up drama for the vast majority of its runtime, and it only adds a touch of horror in the final few minutes.

So if you’re looking for a white-knuckle scarefest with thrills and chills around every corner, this is definitely not the movie for you. But if you’re okay with 90 minutes of drama and about five minutes of horror, I think you’re really going to like Falcon Lake.

Two kids sitting outside
Photo provided by Yellow Veil Pictures

For starters, the acting in this movie is excellent. The entire cast is good, but hands down, the best performances here belong to Joseph Engel and Sara Montpetit, the actors who play Bastien and Chloe. They do a great job of capturing both the awkwardness of teenage romance and the “I don’t want to have anything to do with anybody or anything” attitude a lot of teenagers have towards things their parents make them do, so I bought into these characters pretty quickly.

To be fair, I don’t think everybody is going to love their performances. They’re not the kind of confident, almost adult performances you see from kids in projects like It or Stranger Things, so they’re going to seem a bit amateurish to some viewers. But the way I see it, that’s kind of the point. Sure, the kids in It and Stranger Things do an amazing job, but they smooth over some of the rougher edges of teenage life and make it a bit glossier than it really is.

However, in Falcon Lake, we get the real deal. Joseph Engel and Sara Montpetit capture facets of teenage life you don’t normally see in big Hollywood productions, and I found that really refreshing. Like I said, it made me buy into Bastien and Chloe almost right away, and since this entire movie is basically just their story, that made for a great viewing experience. I was really swept up in their budding relationship, so my eyes were glued to the screen the entire time.

On top of that, Falcon Lake also has a hauntingly beautiful atmosphere. In fact, even though this is mostly a drama, there are moments when the atmosphere makes it feel like a horror movie, and it works perfectly. It’s tough to describe if you haven’t seen it, but it’s almost like director Charlotte Le Bon took a horror atmosphere and transposed it into a more dramatic key. It made me feel right at home, so even when nothing particularly scary was happening, it still helped scratched that horror itch just enough to keep me satisfied.

Last but not least, let’s talk about the actual horror in this film. Like I said, the first 90 minutes or so are pretty much just straight up drama, but it does sprinkle in a few nods to the horror genre here and there. At one point in Falcon Lake, Chloe mentions that there’s a ghost in the lake, and up until the final scene, you’re never quite sure if she’s telling the truth.

A kid with a mask
Photo provided by Yellow Veil Pictures

Granted, there are some very good reasons not to believe her, and if this were real life, I’d even say the case against the spirit’s existence is pretty airtight. But since this is a movie, you can’t help but wonder if maybe, just maybe, there might actually be something to her story, and that uncertainty hangs over the entire film. It makes you really curious to find out the truth, and much like the atmosphere, it also helps to scratch that horror itch.

Then, in the final few minutes, the horror really comes to the fore, and it’s pretty effective. Granted, it’s not exactly scary, but it packs quite the emotional punch, and the way it fits into the rest of the story makes for a super satisfying finale. Going into Falcon Lake, I was afraid that the horror might feel a bit shoehorned in, but that wasn’t the case at all. It ends up being such a natural and organic part of the story that it’s actually really clever, so when the credits began to roll, I was a very happy viewer.

All that being said, I have to acknowledge that Falcon Lake isn’t a perfect movie. As much as I loved Chloe and Bastien’s relationship, there was one scene I had an issue with. At one point in the film, they do something sexual together (it’s not clear exactly what they do, but the basic point is obvious enough), and I thought that was pretty unnecessary. Bastien is only 13, and Chloe is only 16, so there’s just no need to include anything like that in this story.

However, in the grand scheme of things, that’s a relatively minor complaint, so on the whole, I had a really good time with Falcon Lake. It’s a hauntingly beautiful coming-of-age story with an awesome ghostly twist, so if you’re a fan of drama horror, I highly recommend that you check this movie out.

Falcon Lake hits select theaters on June 2, and then it arrives on VOD on June 13.

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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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