Thai/Chinese Kaiju Film THE LAKE Offers Some Thrilling Monster Fun
By Chris Hammond
Directors Aqing Xu, Lee Thongkham
Writers Lalita Homsangpradit, Piyaluk Tuntisrisakul
Stars Lamyai Haithongkham, Sushar Manaying, Teerapat Satjakul, Thanachart Tulyachart, Vithaya Pansringarm, Wanmai Chatborirak
Kaiju films have a rich history and even to this day a very supportive fan base. There is something hypnotic and adrenaline-inducing about a giant monster rampaging through a city and stomping on us (humans) like little bugs. Not since the Thai film Garuda (2004) has there been such anticipation for a Thailand monster film of this nature. It should be noted that this is a Thai/Chinese co-production.
Directors Aqing Xu and Lee Thongkham have a hefty task of creating a new monster universe that would stand on its own merits and not be compared to films like Godzilla. The film gets things started with a little backstory and introduction to our creature. A large unknown creature egg washing up on the shores of the Mekong River in the province of Bueng Kan, Thailand. The egg is discovered by a young girl named May (Wanmai Chatborirak). She shows the egg to her brother Keng (Thanachat Tullayachat) and her sister Lin (Sushar Manaying). Lin wants the egg returned to where May found it, while Keng implores her to let her keep it. May goes off on her own (with the egg in tow). In typical monster fashion, a large amphibious creature comes to reclaim its egg.
Although the film can sometimes get lost in translation, it’s pretty straightforward when it comes to the action scenes and monster-stomping madness. Both Xu and Thongkham create a film deep with homage to Kaiju films of the past, specifically Bong Joon Ho’s film The Host. When the creature is tossing one villager after another through the air causing destructive chaos, It sparks memories of The Host’s creature doing the same thing in the exact same style. There are other tips of the hat to the US classic film Jurassic Park, but I’ll leave it up to our readers to find this one.
The film boasts both very good CGI and practical effects, both of which are leaps above what a film of this budget is used to. It was first reported by Bloody Disgusting that the practical monster design is created by Jordu Schell (Cloverfield, Starship Troopers, The Mist, and many more). This is again another check mark in the positive column for THE LAKE.
On the story’s side of things, THE LAKE sometimes gets a little fuzzy and confusing. There are many different storylines that take place during the monster attack. A single father who is a cop (Theerapat Sajakul) struggles with his rebellious daughter, while also attempting to track down the creature responsible for the ongoing carnage. There are also a group of scientists that are in town to do research. They also are here to help with the capture of the creature. The glaring issue with this storyline is, they actually weren’t really needed and just slow down the action. The last issue is that after the attack on Kang, he now has some sort of odd connection to the creature. It’s almost as though he can see its thoughts. This element is never really explained at all it is just there. Kang’s sister Lin also tells a mob of angry villagers that they can’t kill the creature or it will kill Kang. Where or when did she know this and how?
Despite some of these unclear plot elements, THE LAKE is one fun ride. A film is supposed to entertain and it did that in spades. The monster is also one of the best-looking creatures on screen in the last couple of years. Given some more experience in film making I think both directors have a bright future for many years to come.
THE LAKE is available on-demand streaming now. Dread’s THE LAKE will be available on Blu-ray on May 16th. For more information on where to purchase or how to stream the movie, please check out https://epic-pictures.com/film/the-Lake
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