The Legend of Lake Hollow Poster

The Legend of Lake Hollow (2024) Review

The Legend of Lake Hollow is the first feature from director Chris Hollo. If you’re into country music, his name may be familiar to you as the official photographer for The Grand Ole Opry, a position he’s held since 2000. However, that has little in common with this film which opens with Mark (James David West, These Streets We Haunt, One More Dream) and Carson (Brendan Bald, Black America, Locked Up) arriving at the lakeside cabin they’ve rented. They’re barely in the door than they start checking out pictures from the property’s trail cams, and see something with a wicked set of claws.

Before they can act on that, Mark’s brother Dan (Kyle Rankin, Desperation Road, 1 Mile to You) arrives with his fiancé Shay (Liz Atwater, The Upside of Down, Departure) and her friend Laurie (Meg Barlowe, Sara’s in the Bathroom, Over My Dead Body). It’s not long before they’re hearing strange noises from the woods and finding more odd pictures captured by the trail cams.

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The script by Jerry Robbins (Catch the Bullet) is anything but subtle, with something happening right from the start. From the photos on the trail cams to the obligatory visit from the creepy caretaker who warns them to stay out of the woods after dark. The next day they discover of the caretaker’s injured grandson Grady (Austin Copps, Christmas in Tune, Treasure) who talks about dead people who come out of the lake, ghostly faces at the window, and worst of all, their Jeeps ending up under thirty feet of water.

It’s also surprisingly creepy considering most of The Legend of Lake Hollow’s first half takes place during the day and in bright sunlight. A lot of that is due to the work of sound designer Russell Mehringer (Dead Center, Josephine) who created plenty of eerie sounds to fill the sunlight woods with and create the impression of an evil so strong even sunlight can’t entirely banish it.

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Ironically, it’s once night falls again that The Legend of Lake Hollow starts to lose some of its steam. While there are some great atmospheric shots of the foggy woods courtesy of cinematographer Joshua Shreve (Potter’s Ground, This is Major) there are also several scenes that are so dark it’s hard to make out what’s happening. More problematical, however, the plot, which was a bit chaotic to begin with, starts to turn into a collection of seemingly random events. People disappear into the woods, doppelgängers show up as do ghostly settlers and Native Americans as well as the creature which we learn is a Wendigo.

It feels like Hollo and Robbins were aiming to make The Legend of Lake Hollow into something like the Phantasm films, where things just happen with little regard for logic or explanations. And while Robbins shows a lot of talent for a first time director, he’s not Don Coscarelli and can’t quite hold it all together, and it starts to become confusing. We do get an explanation, but it’s in an extended information dump that stops the film’s climax dead in its tracks.

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It’s too bad because the script has some nice touches to it and the creature, once we get a good look at it, is well designed and not done with CGI. Ben Rittenhouse, who has worked on major studio films like Kill Bill and Poseidon as well as indies such as Lwa: All Saints’ Eve and The Night Sitter, used the making and filming of the creature as a project for his students, and they did a great job.

Despite somewhat losing its way in the final act, The Legend of Lake Hollow is a fun film with plenty of atmosphere and scares. It’s a solid choice for a weekend watch.

Vision Films will release The Legend of Lake Hollow on March 26th,

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