DVD REVIEW: BLOOD LAKE: ATTACK OF THE KILLER LAMPREYS / CERT: TBC / DIRECTOR: JAMES CULLEN BRESSACK / SCREENPLAY: ANNA RASMUSSEN, DELONDRA WILLIAMS / STARRING: SHANNEN DOHERTY, JASON BROOKS, ZACK WARD, CHRISTOPHER LLOYD / RELEASE DATE: OUT NOW (US) TBC (UK)
Blood Lake draws from a wide pool of influences, the most obvious being Joe Dante’s Piranha; both see holiday makers terrorised by flesh-eating aquatic beasties. In this case it’s lampreys, best described in-film as an anus with teeth. Like Maggie in Joe Dante’s creature feature, Jason Brooks’ Michael is the straight-faced, reluctant hero. Being an expert on all things lamprey, he’s soon baffled by their strange violent behaviour, and it quickly becomes a question of survival, in a mad rush to stop them making their way into the Mississippi.
The set-up is all by numbers, with Michael moving his family into small town Michigan with the usual suburban displacement. The story, as is usually the case, is just a vehicle to get to the red stuff, and the gore effects are brilliantly over the top. Killing lamprey’s with a grass strimmer is a particularly gruesome delight.
Shot digitally for a slick look, director James Cullen Bressack stretches a thin budget, but the shocking quality of the CGI will have you in stiches. The half-decent practical effects makes you wish there’d gone the whole hog and made a latex throwback. Even more bizarre is the presence of Christopher Lloyd barking his way through the lines of grouchy Mayor Akerman.
Given the lake setting, there’s bikini bods, muscle jocks and pretty boys, though never as much as its eighties predecessors. It’s an impassioned ode to the creature feature, but more in love with the present than the past. As far as TV movies go, you’d be hard pressed to find one half us much fun.