Officially an Italian–British co-production Landing Lake feels very much like a piece of 80s Italian sci-fi horror. The debut film from writer/director Cesare P. Libardi di K mixes a team of techs stuck in the woods, criminals whose plane has crashed nearby and aliens into a wonderfully messed up stew along the lines of Alien 2: On Earth and Shocking Dark.
A group of techs, Phil (Franck Assi, Rash), Mike (Lee Ravitz, Cute Little Buggers), Ann (Emma Bown) and Georgie (Victoire Vecchierini) are sent out to restart a satellite transmitter that has mysteriously gone offline. Things get complicated when a plane with a trio of suspicious characters Matt (Aaron Stielstra, Anger Of The Dead, Catch 22), Jack (Phil Zimmerman, Dracula Untold, Dumbo) and Alexandria (Joanna-Leigh Hewitt).
However, things are about to get a lot worse. There are strange transmissions coming from the lake. Transmissions that are having physical and psychological effects on everyone.
Landing Lake was shot in Super35mm in the woods around Trentino, Italy and it looks beautiful. The dark, foggy woods ooze atmosphere and menace. The synth-based score by Corrado Pollacci adds greatly to that feeling. Logic, however, is in much shorter supply.
Italian horror films have never really been known for making a lot of sense. Think of even the best films of Fulci and Argento, lots of style and lots of plots holes. They tend to rely on atmosphere and effects to a much greater extent. Landing Lake is no different as it throws all manner of things at the screen to keep the plot moving forward. And for the most part, it works.
We have mysterious voices, flashbacks, and wounds mysteriously healing. There are force fields, people melting into piles of goo and alien possession. Most frightening of all however might be the way Zimmerman channels David Hess at his most unhinged. Fittingly he also has Landing Lake’s biggest jaw-dropper of a line. After the film’s only black character dissolves into a pile of goo he intones, “Well, chocolate always melts in the sun”
Films like this are a bit of an acquired taste. If you’re familiar with 80s Italian horror and like it, there’s a good chance you’ll enjoy Landing Lake.
High Octane Pictures will release Landing Lake on VOD and DVD on July 9th. Check for updates on its Facebook page.