In Lake Bodom, Finnish writer/director Taneli Mustonen combines fact, folklore and fiction to create a multilayered thriller which uniquely entwines sadistic teen slasher with revenge crime fiction. Like The Silence of the Lambs and The Texas Chain Saw Massacre, Mustonen anchors his plot line in fact: the unsolved cold case when four teenagers were brutally stabbed to death while camping off the shores of Lake Bodom, outside Espoo, Finland, in 1960. While Lake Bodom is naturally suited with classic slashers like Friday the 13th and I Know What You Did Last Summer, focussing on another quartet of teens who intentionally camp on the same fatal shore as the real-life victims, the storyline effortlessly melts fact and fiction into an intense, inescapable nightmare.
Notably, Mustonen doesn’t rely solely on his small but stellar cast to create terror and tension. He brilliantly utilises the grandeur of the lake and its surrounding wilderness to heighten their desolation. This is reminiscent of the dramatic and daunting ariel shots of Glacier National Park in The Shining, the Sierra Nevada in Ravenous, and the Sahara Desert in the incredible 2006 remake of The Hills Have Eyes. Like their respective directors Stanley Kubrick, Antonia Bird and Alexandra Aja, Mustonen masterfully mutates remote beauty into helpless isolation. To unveil more of the plot line here would prematurely unravel its brilliant twists and eccentricities.
In short, Lake Bodom is an unmissable 90 minutes. The cast and crew masterfully blend simmering suspense with breakneck violence to produce what is perhaps one of the best teen slashers of the 21st century.
18 May 2017