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Cabin by the Lake

1 rating: -3.0
A movie directed by Po-Chih Leong

Screenwriter Stanley Caldwell (Judd Nelson) is hard at work on the screenplay for a new horror film, but to finish it he needs research - the kind of research that involves kidnapping young women, killing them, and fixing them in a bizarre underwater … see full wiki

Cast: Hedy Burress
Director: Po-Chih Leong
Release Date: 2000
MPAA Rating: R
1 review about Cabin by the Lake

Cabin By The Lake

  • May 7, 2002
Pros: that music, whoa!

Cons: acting, story, well face it - everything but the music

The Bottom Line: Swim in the other direction, you'll thank me for this. Besides any 3 year old that has seen a movie knows how this will end - WHO WRITES THIS STUFF???

All kidding aside, the main draw of this movie, in fact the only draw of this movie, is the brooding soundtrack, which is listed no where and doesn’t exist. Background vocals were sung by the Celtic folk rockers The Wild Colonials and featured the haunting and eerie Cure, which I would love to get my hands on. Actually, listening to the song throughout the movie, I thought it was Marilyn Manson or Ozzy or an equally bizarre and edgy group. Celtic, huh? Color me surprised!

The movie itself was just so much garbage that I felt required to watch just to see if it would improve. Well, as opposed to composting garbage for fertilization, this movie didn’t age any with the viewing.

A made-for-TV movie which stars Judd Nelson as screenwriter Stanley Caldwell, who has had a slight slump in production lately. In fact, so bad he decides to ‘become one’ with his story by acting out each phase and then writing about it. Born is the worst acted serial killer to ever grace my screen. Sigh.

Stanley comes up with a brilliant idea for a serial killer to kidnap young ladies and then anchor them to the bottom of the lake, surrounded by produced foliage, representing a ‘garden’ with the ladies as the flowers. He calls his new script “Garden of Flesh”, and after starting gathering his lovely flowers, he presents his screen play to his agent, Regan (played irritatingly and overboard by Susan Gibney) and the director, Duncan (petulant and smarmy Bernie Coulson).

The main problem – among many – is that Stanley lives lakeside among a community of ‘film people’, and one offbeat deputy sheriff, Boone Preston (Michael Weatherly). Their weekly meetings at The Creature Barn, where FX is taken to the extreme, are just another weird thing to deal with in the movie.

Of course, Stanley has hit on a major coup by inventing his garden, but eventually even the mighty fall, when he meets the one girl that fights him back, mentally and physically. As is his way, he is prone to pick these young ladies up in his van, once inside they see the cryptic message scrawled around the interior “I Am The Guy Your Mother Warned You About” – woe is me! He then takes them to his lair, holds them captive while he studies their reaction to captivity (for the writing, of course), and then dumps them in his garden.

My problem with this, well, face it, my problem with the entire movie is HUGE but I’ll narrow down just one or two. Some of these ladies have been floating at the bottom of this lake for months. Delicately putting it, there is no damage to their ….. um …… exterior, nor do they seem to have physically changed in any way. In fact, their makeup is still perfect. Ok, ok, once in a while a scarf floats free or a wedding veil comes loose from their hair, but he is there almost daily checking them out and tending to their attire.

There are fish in this lake for heavens sake, they have to eat. And there is no bloating. Only one body showed signs of being immersed for an extended period of time, which they try to scare you with - still laughing. Sorry, I tried to be delicate, but damn I’m not that friggin stupid. Or am I? I watched the entire movie. Sigh.

So old Stanley manages to pick up Mallory (Hedy Burress) who runs the popcorn stand at the local cinema. She is afraid of water (he overhears this while waiting for popcorn) and he all but quivers, thinking he can finally get the perfect specimen to end the story and record her ultimate fear.

Yeah, yeah – he captures her, sinks her, but low and behold – the same day (gasp!) the people from The Creature Barn and the deputy sheriff, Boone, are at the bottom of the lake trying new underwater film equipment for a new movie they will be making about a guy that buries women at the bottom of the lake.

Of course, they don’t know the sicko is their pal and buddy Stanley. Anyway, they rescue Mallory, who begins a vendetta, along with the above bunch of losers, to capture the bad guy through their prowess with movie magic. They make a fake Mallory, sink her, place a video camera in her fake eye, and hope to film the bad guy visiting his garden.

Excuse me but these are supposed to be professionals or at least pseudo-professionals. Their friggin camera doesn’t work (the eyeball camera) worth a pootie, they are no where near the dump scene to capture the bad guy anyway, and the damn dummy looks so fake even I could spot it a mile away. (In fact, where were the 'real' professionals that were making the special effects for this movie?)

Stanley realizes their ploy, but Hell, he ain’t all that intelligent. He manages to capture Mallory again and take her back to the dumping ground, along with that whiny agent Regan. But, but ……. This time, this time, the sheriff, the deputy sheriff, The Creature Barn people, Hell, half the damn town, are there and they capture Stanley by tying him to one of his own girls. Or do they?

As the rescued Mallory floats to the surface, in Boone’s arms (sigh), she looks back into the dying eyes of Stanley, who now knows the fear of drowning himself. There is a sort of electricity between them that absolutely makes you gasp. No, really, I’m just kidding, it was poorly acted, in fact it was pitiful. In fact, I'm still laughing.

Talking about acting, mercifully there was none in the movie. The best you are gonna get is by the wild and crazy crew at The Creature Barn, as they get into their groove, trying to make the fake Mallory. Judd Nelson is so wooden, I thought perhaps they had made a fake Nelson for the movie as well. Hedy Burress – please woman, take a pill and give an extra one to Susan Gibney. Even worse, Michael Weatherly, the deputy, spends most of his time in his well pressed uniform, standing on a pier looking out over the lake, contemplating the evolution of man or the sempiternity of Pi or some other deep and brooding thoughts.

Filming, though, I’ll give you that. Clear and beautiful pictures at the bottom of the lake with the lovely ladies floating around in their garden. Vibrant colors, gorgeous area shots and some really bizarre close ups of Nelson’s weird eyes. And that haunting music. I’d almost sit through it again for that symbolistic music. Yeah, right – no friggin way!

Written by David Stephens and directed by Po-Chih Leong.


Yes, we have no Bacon. This movie was released in 2000, you know what that means, everybody is a Bacon lover. By the way, for the really intrigued, a sequel has already been release Return To Cabin By TheLake, ah the cleverness of that title!


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