Screamfest Review: Lake Bodom Is A Finnish Delight

Many horror classics have been taken inspiration from true stories. Both Texas Chainsaw Massacre and Psycho were based on real-life serial killer Ed Gein, and The Exorcist was based on an allegedly true exorcism of a boy. In Australia, they have Wolf Creek and now Lake Bodom gives us Finland’s answer to true story horror.

Ida (Nelly Hirst-Gee) and Nora (Mimosa Willamo) go on a camping trip with the guys Elias (Mikael Gabrial) and Att (Santri Helinheimo Manyla) at Lake Bodom, the notorious spot where four teenaged campers were murdered in 1960. Then they have a picnic and everything works out fine. Just kidding.

Don’t worry if four seems like a low body count for a slasher movie. Trust me, writer Aleksi Hyvarinen and co-writer/director Taneli Mustonen keep Lake Bodom moving and developing further. There are some loud jump scares and fakeouts but it’s all in good fun.

Between Ida and Nora you really don’t know who is going to be the final girl. Ida is set up to be at first but there are reasons to suspect a turnabout. The friendship between Ida and Nora is stronger than any relationship between most characters in a slasher movie. You really hope they both escape (less so the boys) and repair their friendship.

Mustonen and cinematographer Daniel Lindholm get some beautiful shots of the forest and underwater photography when Ida has to dive into the lake. There are pretty big vehicular stunts on the backroads, giving Lake Bodom the look of polished epic.

A subplot about cyber bullying gives Lake Bodom a modern relevance. Ida had some naked photos taken of her and posted online, which is a threat perhaps more real today than a killer in the woods. Lake Bodom asks questions about who we trust in our lives and what we now take for granted when such scandals come to light.

Of course I’m being careful not to ruin any of the surprises Lake Bodom has in store. I want audiences to enjoy discovering them the way I did at Screamfest. Hopefully Lake Bodom plays wide in the States and hopefully all Finnish horror cinema is this good because I want to discover it all!

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