FEVER LAKE (1997) – I like to think of this hilariously lame horror film as Twin Peaks 90210. I sometimes toy with I Was A Teenage Shining but that mock title only applies to isolated parts of Fever Lake. Overall, I think the creative team was trying for an imitation Twin Peaks vibe, especially given the time period in which it was made.
This little honey was released theatrically in Europe during 1996 but direct-to-video here in the U.S. during 1997. The credits even refer to much of the movie being shot in the town of Twin Lakes so for all I know that name might have provided spontaneous inspiration for the director or in the way of rewrites.
I’ll elaborate on that point in a bit, but for right now I’ll point out the enjoyable kitsch-casting that elevates this turkey slightly above other such dismal efforts. Corey Haim, one-half of the Haim-Feldman Colony Creature, stars as college student Albert. Saved By The Bell‘s Mario Lopez co-stars as college student Steve.
Yes, this is one of those flicks in which NONE of the top dozen or so stars play a character with a last name, except for good old Bo Hopkins the sheriff, who gets no FIRST name. Yet very, very minor characters get full names like “Bud Martin” and “Harry Kemp.” All my fellow lovers of Bad Movies have been there before.
Fever Lake serves up the usual assortment of horny students – all of whom seem fresh from Beverly Hills 90210 – staying at a creepy lakeside house provided by Corey Haim. The filmmakers actually seem to think we viewers won’t immediately realize that he’s the little boy who witnessed the murders in that house during the pre-credits flashback scene.
Now back to the “If Aaron Spelling Had Done Twin Peaks” elements:
Fever Lake features a wise Native American offering insights to the Sheriff about an evil presence which suffuses the nearby lake and oozes throughout the entire vicinity. On Twin Peaks, Native American Deputy Hawk would offer Sheriff Truman insights about an evil presence which suffused the nearby forest and oozed throughout the entire vicinity.
(By the way, Clear Lake, the Native American character, is played by Michael Wise, who IS listed in the Index of Native American and First Nations Actors, so ignore reviews which indignantly claim that a white guy played the Native American. In fact, with a name like “Clear Lake” I like to think his character is a Native American Scientologist, but I’m kind of weird.)
Fever Lake features a town full of odd characters who go beyond the usual horror tale in terms of small town hickishness and head straight into bizarre. Twin Peaks featured the same.
Fever Lake’s central evil can possess various people at various times to commit murders and other assorted mayhem, plus the souls of some of the murder victims seem trapped in the region. This, too, parallels Twin Peaks.
The knife-wielding Little Boy Ghost who frequently appears and disappears gives off a vibe decidedly like the Jumping Man on Twin Peaks crossed with that same show’s “Bob”.
“The Wolf Is Not What It Seems” and often looked to be serving as the malevolent “eyes” for the Fever Lake evil, just like the owls in Twin Peaks served for that locale’s evil.
Fever Lake’s diner, whose management, waitresses and customers offer up a menu of exposition and character backgrounds, always feels like Nadine’s diner on Twin Peaks.
Anyway, Fever Lake tries hard for atmosphere but is mostly just boring. The “college students” (LMAO) are too old to be playing 19 or 20 year olds and are such walking stereotypes that all their conversations will put you to sleep.
This film also makes its own ending needlessly muddled by offering up two different solutions, both of which are so clichéd that neither would be worth settling for. As I stated above, only the kitsch casting and the “Hey, are they trying to be like Twin Peaks?” moments make this bomb at all interesting.
Every other moment of Fever Lake is one long festival of clichés which combine with often lackluster presentation that prevents this flick from even reaching So Bad It’s Good status. It’s more boring-bad than fun-bad.
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