I love it when a horror film can capture the dark, eerie tones of the old Hammer films. Hammer was renowned for its ability to conjure foreboding atmospheres in the most common of places, therefore when a modern-day director can do that, it’s a true testament to his or her talents. Such is the case with NEVERLAKE. Director Riccardo Paoletti draws on age-old mysticism and folklore to help set the tone of his film…and the result is an effective horror flick that entertains on several levels.
If you are not familiar with NEVERLAKE, here is the plot synopsis courtesy of Onemore Pictures:
A teenager visiting her estranged father in Italy stumbles across the Neverlake, an ancient lake said to be guarded by the spirits of the dead. There she befriends a peculiar group of children who are each plagued by strange injuries. As she uncovers the horrific secrets behind the lake – and her new friends – she becomes haunted by disturbing visions that connect to her own mysterious past. However, the ghosts of the past may be more dangerous than she ever thought possible.
I honestly didn’t expect much from this film going into it. Not that I thought it was going to be bad or anything, but the premise didn’t engage me as much as others have. But thankfully, I was WAY off base. NEVERLAKE is a fun and haunting film that every horror fan should check out soon.
NEVERLAKE is shot well and looks very good onscreen. I particularly like the sweeping landscape shots interspersed throughout; they are a huge help in setting the tone for the film, and they also highlight the beautiful Italian countryside in which the film is shot and set.
The acting is solid with several enjoyable performances. Daisy Keeping, who plays the lead character, is entertaining and a name to look for in the future. I hope to see more of her work soon. The rest of the cast does a good job as well, including Martin Kashirokov as Peter and David Brandon as Dr. Brook.
But although NEVERLAKE is entertaining and visually excellent, it does have a couple of flaws. First and foremost, the plot takes a while to get moving. The movie clocks in at only 86 minutes, however the opening scenes are slow, which slows the tension from building. Secondly, some of the storyline later on gets a tad confusing, especially when the horrifying medical discovery is made…in connection with the three thousand year old spirits. This concept actually took me a few minutes to digest.
However, NEVERLAKE is a creepy film with lots of surrealistic and beautiful imagery. Despite its minor negatives, it is definitely one to see. The film has a varied release schedule, so be sure to catch it at one of the locations above.