MOVIE REVIEW: Harvest Lake (2016)

By Dixielord

Today it seems all too common to take the easy way out in horror films. Especially with low budget films. So many filmmakers go for the cookie cutter zombie or masked killer film. Sure, there are standouts, but mostly it seems it's just more of the same. Well, I can guarantee you wont feel that way about Harvest Lake. Love it or hate it, I think you will agree it is anything other than the usual.

Ellie Church from Harvest Lake
Ellie Church in Harvest Lake

Director Scott Schirmer took the masked serial killer in all new directions with his last film Found. With Harvest Lake, Schirmer and producer/ photographer Brian Williams take the creature feature where it's never been before, and along the way explores every orifice. It was billed as an “erotic creature feature”, and that's about as close to on point as you can get, although I would say it touches heavily on the body horror genre as well.

American Mary's Tristan Risk headlines the cast of Harvest Lake, along with Ellie Church (Headless), Jason Crowe, and Dan Nye.The plot concerns four friends who pack it off to a remote cabin to celebrate a birthday. The friends go out fully intending to drink and sex it up. Along the way they pick up a stranger and invite him back for festivities. Things start to go a bit strange when they encounter a mysterious plant. The plant, complete with pods (that look a lot like xenomorph eggs), tentacle like appendages, and fruit that look like misshapen breasts, exerts a strange pull over the campers, as one after another they fall under its spell. What few inhibitions the group had melt away, leading to more debauchery before finally discovering the alien (?) source of the infestation.

 

plant sex in Harvest Lake
This almost happened.

Harvest Lake is a highly sexually charged movie. When a film starts out with male and female full frontal nudity, you know you are in for a raunchy ride. And there is a lot of sex and nudity in Harvest Lake. A lot. There are at least four sex scenes in the film before the big finale, which of course involves sex. Get it? There's sex in this here film, so don't blame me if your prudish ass gets offended.

Some of the sex is fairly explicit, but it never feels gratuitous. It's an important part of the film, instrumental in the story being told. Harvest Lake also has one of the more explicit same gender love scenes between two men. It's brave of a film maker to go there, and I really hope we have grown enough as a culture to accept this and not be offended. There is also quite a bit of nudity from pretty much every member of the cast, male and female. But once again, none of it, with the possible exception of the opening scene, feels gratuitous. It's there for a reason.

In a recent coming soon article, I likened Harvest Lake to 80s science fiction films like Breeders and Inseminoid, due to the buzz I was hearing. After actually seeing the film, however, it's much closer to Cronenberg's Shivers with a little of the 70s Invasion of the Body Snatchers thrown in. There is a scene between Ellie Church and Tristan Risk that visually is very similar to one in Shivers between Barbara Steele and Susan Petrie. Besides the visual similarity, the whole concept of a parasite, for lack of a better word, invading you, by contact, kissing, or love making, and releasing your primal desires is the basic story line of Shivers. But unlike Shivers, this is a wholly alien force versus a scientifically created virus.

But Harvest Lake isn't just a carbon copy of Shivers. It's its own film, more of a true science fiction horror and without the obvious social commentary of Shivers. This is a film about a presumably alien force coming to earth, to basically get its pods off. There is no real gore and very little violence, which also sets it apart from Cronenberg's classic. The little critter here seems more interested in sex than violence or perversion. Although there are hints that he might have a more sinister fate awaiting our campers once he gets his jollies.

As I mentioned earlier, this isn't cookie cutter horror. I dare you to say you have ever seen anything quite like this, even a Cronenberg film. What other horror film are you going to see Tristan Risk in a bikini, on hands and knees, ass up in the air about to perform fellatio on an alien pod? Yeah that happened, and I'll never complain about Tristan with her ass in the air. Never. But it's a surreal scene, a situation that's echoed in different situations, and poses, by the other cast members. One by one the friends are seduced or outright raped by the creature in the lake. There's a scene between it and Ellie Church that will make Lovecraft fans quiver. I dont want to spoil it, but the weirdness doesn't stop, and neither does the sex, until the credits roll.

Tristan Risk from American Mary and Harvest Lake
Tristan Risk from American Mary and Harvest Lake

The surreal visuals are driven home and lent more power by the haunting, eerie and driving score. It's both beautiful and unnerving at the same time. Do yourself a favor and listen to this on good speakers with the sound up. It helps keep you on edge throughout the film.

And let's be competently honest, who the hell wouldn't enjoy watching Little Ms Risk and Ellie Church run around in very small bikinis for almost an entire movie? Not to be left out, there are some bare asses for the ladies and guys who prefer the guys. Special bonus points for being the only movie I have ever seen to reference the chimp raping a frog video...sharing that video made me lots of friends online...memories.

Harvest Lake orgy
And this totally happened in Harvest Lake.

There's really not a lot that I disliked about Harvest Lake. Gore fans may be turned off by its lack of bloody mayhem, but seriously you can catch that shit anywhere. And the same gender sex may turn off some folks, but really, 21st century y’all. Grow the fuck up. We have all drooled over naked ladies and lesbian scenes over the years, so chill. If all you want is masked killers, zombies or paranormal bumps in the night, Harvest Lake probably isn't for you. But if you want an erotic and trippy ass visual experience, then you NEED to see Harvest Lake. True story bro.

Posted by Allen Alberson

1 comment

Adrian Adrian A

Just what we need. Another poor on plot, crap acting flick that relies on cheap sexual sensationalism. Yawn.

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