Magazine article Screen International

'Lake Bodom': London Review

Magazine article Screen International

'Lake Bodom': London Review

Article excerpt

Dir. Taneli Mustonen. Finland/Estonia, 2016, 85 mins.

An ingenious, intelligent, playfully nasty film, Lake Bodom draws on five decades' worth of theory about the still-unsolved 1960 case of four teenagers who were killed while camping beside Lake Bodom - a forest area near the city of Espoo in Finland - but is more concerned with horror movie tricks than true crime speculation.

Given horror fans' proven penchant for seeking out takes on familiar material from fresh territories, a Finnish slasher mystery should find international audiences at genre festivals, in modest theatrical runs and as a streaming/VOD/DVD title. And Mustonen, best known at home for the comedic Luokkakokous/Reunion movies, might have potential as a genre auteur if he follows up with similar fare.

The lake-in-the-woods setting and campers-in-peril situation naturally evokes the Friday the 13th brand of American slasher movie, but director Taneli Mustonen - who also co-wrote with Aleksi Hyvarinen - delights in pulling the rug out from genre-savvy audiences with a series of twists that are likely to surprise even audiences who think they can see where the film is going.

In the present day, teenage guys Elias (Mikael Gabriel) and Atte (Santeri Helinheimo Mantyla) dupe girls Ida (Nelly Hirst-Gee) and Nora (Mimosa Willamo) into taking a trip to the murder site by claiming they're going to a cabin party. Actually, the slightly ghoulish murder buffAtte wants to stage a photographic recreation of the 1960 crimes while the tattooed Elias seems to have a more obvious hidden intent. The outgoing Nora is protective of her waiflike friend Ida, who comes from a repressive religious family and is trying to get past a scandal involving nude photos taken without her consent that have supposedly been posted on the internet.

They reach the eerie location after dark and set up camp. …

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