“The Lake on Clinton Road” (2015) is loosely based on an urban legend about Clinton Road in New Jersey. Some crazy college kids that get into trouble when they crash uninvited at a cabin on the lake and meet a ghost or something. Spoopiness ensues.
Murderess Diana White is interviewed by two hard-nosed cops about the fact that she recently drowned her son Jackson in the titular body of water. She’s mostly incoherent, but when pressed by a crazed detective, she says “I tried, but he’s not dead.”
We then meet six friends headed to the Jersey Shore to celebrate the birthday of one of their own, hotshot college football star Alex. Along for the ride is his girlfriend Jillian, best buddy Mark, Mark’s girl Stacy, workout freak Amber and her overweight boyfriend Jaime. As they pile into Alex’s car, we know it’s party time due to this helpful song:
“Right now it’s time to party
Goddamn, I’m feeling that body
Goddamn, cuz you a hottie
We goin’ full throttle
About to hit dat like the Lotto.”
That’s a real song, not a shared dream we all had about the worst thing ever.
This car full of thirty something actors posing as college students never arrives at the beach. Instead, they get lost in Jersey and find themselves on the rural expanse of Clinton Road, allegedly haunted by a small boy drowned by his mother. They find a lovely and mysterious cabin in the forest and randomly abandon all plans to make it all the way to the Shore.
Time for a bonfire at the edge of a swampy lake!
This party sequence comes complete with slo-mo dancing, the fire bursting as lighter fluid is shot into it, two of the girls kissing each other, twerking, and Mark picking up a measly bottle of Chardonnay and saying “We gonna get fucked up.”
I’ve seen more zero budgeted horror than you have, trust me. Never have I seen a pre-terror celebration scene shot as if it were an EDM video with stylistic flourishes like these.
The party is over when Alex’s gal Jillian takes a drunken dip in the uninviting lake and starts acting like Diana White. Um, excuse me. I’d like to buy a vowel for $300 Alex. Oh wait. That’s VANNA White. Not Diana White! My bad!
Anyhoo, that bonfire craziness is followed by a morning workout on the lawn during which athletic Amber does precious little exercising, but removes her top and slo-mo splashes her face and chest with a water bottle while the three male characters watch from the second floor deck overhead.
Meanwhile, Jillian discovers a box of weird photos of the White family and discovers that Diana looks exactly like her! Noooooo!
After more boozing and lameness, Jillian starts throwing up kelp from the lake and having visions involving little Jackson running around looking pouty.
Stacy and Mark have a sex scene with a rather odd jazz score in the background. Oddness aside, I thought it was refreshing that both characters are African-American and not portrayed as complete idiots. More diversity on all fronts: gender, racial, religion, that is what horror needs as a genre.
Jillian starts acting even weirder, and emerges out of the lake with crazy hair in Diana’s dress.
Stacy is dragged around the cabin by an invisible force, and vanishes. Her boyfriend is not troubled by this at all as several hours after her disappearance he raises up his hands and says “These are my girlfriends tonight.” Yikes.
Doughy Jaime encounters a ghost and decides to leap naked into the lake. Because, why not, right?
Jillian kills Amber and chases Mark down by transforming into some sort of ghostly car, or something… We’re still not sure on this one.
Alex confronts Jillian in the cabin, who kicks his ass telekinetically with some decent effects. Turns out that when she was a little kid, Jillian discovered Diana drowning Jackson in the lake. Because of that, she is able to destroy the ghost boy before he can kill Alex.
So anyway, that happened. I liked some of the technical aspects of the film, but the story was weak and some of the performances were more wooden than my coffee table. As a director, Deshon Hardy has a grasp on the effects/cinematography side of making a film. With a stronger script, he might be a name to watch out for.
Go here for an insiders look at behind the scenes action that occurred during the making of “The Lake on Clinton Road.” I mean, if you’re so inclined. You might learn something. Or not. It’s totally up to you. No, really. It is.