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Lake Artifact

Lake Artifact (2018) Movie Poster
USA  •    •  96m  •    •  Directed by: Bruce Wemple.  •  Starring: Catharine Daddario, Anna Shields, Chris Cimperman, Adrian Burke, Grant Schumacher, Dylan Grunn, Delil Baran, Thomas Brazzle, John Noble.  •  Music by: Nate VanDeusen.
    Five friends go on a weekend getaway to a cabin in Upstate New York, where time and space begins to function without reason, only to slowly turn them against each other one by one.


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It tried hard to be smart and clever and deep. However, it was an amateurish attempt that fell flat in a number of ways. It was way too on-the-nose and obvious from the very beginning. The characters immediately knew something was off and even mentioned theories based on previous SciFi plots. There was no buildup, no creativity, no mystery, nothing for the viewer to connect or conclude.

In addition, the purported plot made no sense. It borrowed blatantly and badly from other time loop movies that were successful in their delivery (I won't mention names for fear of spoilers). They had held tensioning intrigue and suspense, while this film was filled with random scenes that did not come close to forming a coherent hole. The cuts were abrupt and jarring abd were frankly lazy - no attempt was made to flow from one scene to the next. The entire story came off as contrived and ill-conceived. You cannot expect the viewer to accept fantastical explanations if you have provided no consent or clues leading there. The characters were provided knowledge that they could never have acquired. Too many things went nowhere and seemed pointless. The cult backstory was ridiculous and did not serve the time loop premise whatsoever, and the so-called "satanic are shoved down viewers' throats pointlessly. The documentary premise does not make sense while the viewer is also watching events occur outside of documentary. Either it's found footage or a documentary or the camera serves as an omniscient narrator with no awareness on the part of the characters. It can't be a combination of devices. That does not work.

I might have been able to forgive some of these story errors if the performances had been moderately compelling. Sadly, this qas not the case. The dialogue was stilted and unrealistic, and most of the actors were unconvincingand unsympathetic. The "Tommy" character seemed like a caricature of an urban black man. The "Megan" character was a stereotype of a hard-partying, shallow, hysterical girl. The characters' words and actions did not make sense within the context of the events. I appreciated the chill undertone of "Thomas," but everyone else was disappointing.

Low-budget movies can br enormously successful in executing their visions. You don't need fancy special effects or sets or locations to make a good film. You do need a compelling story. This film was fine visually - I had no issues with the picture or camera work. Rather, the flaws lay in the script, character development, and execution.

At times a movie is so complex that it creates confusion, and the viewer might need or want to watch again to fully appreciate it. "Inception" comes to mind as an example. This film is the opposite. It is confusing in its lack of a story. It's as if random clich├ęd plot points were dropped into a bowl, and a handful were selected and put together with no care or thought.

I think this film could have been interesting if there had been a well-developed story based on the concept.

Review by ArdentViewer from the Internet Movie Database.