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Horror movies have a long history relying on myths and tradition to sell their stories. However director/writer Ozlem Altingoz took a very different approach and seemed to relish breaking all the rules to tell a new kind of story.

Daughter of the Lake is a short horror film about a group of friends getting stranded in the woods. They seek help at a lonely nearby cabin, and the occupant of this cabin takes them in. However there is no forewarning whatsoever of a psycho-bitch and a demon also living on the premises. Written and directed by native Turkish-born Ozlem Altingoz, a current student at the New York Film Academy. This short is one of 4 directorial debuts in two years. This latest film takes much from the traditional style of horror films, but then… and this is what makes this film so delightful, she takes the afore mentioned classical horror genre storytelling and marinates it with wonderful borrowed moments of campy horror film tradition. These sudden side-trips leave the audience surprised and second-guessing their own emotional reactions. This is quite a feat for any filmmaker to achieve!

One instance of this phenomenon is the film’s very cinematography, which is wonderful in the sense that all the characters are well lighted and their reactions can be easily seen. This is not always the case in traditional dark horror lore, but was much appreciated in this film. Also the dialogue is crystal clear, making the story easy to follow… even with all the unexpected twists in character reactions.

Daughter of the Lake takes a page from the universal greatest nightmare of being stranded in a dark, unknown wilderness, and being betrayed by the creepy strangers that live there. No one is safe, and only the lucky survive. Or do they??

The acting of the 4 friends is convincing. They seemed to be mutual best friends on a trip gone awry. A standout acting nod is given to Sebastian Faure (as Roland) and Victoria Schneider (as Lucy) in the opening car scene, as these actors were very natural, engaging, and believable. The cabin man/brother (role of Mike) was confusing and intriguing. He has a strange unknown accent when we first meet him, but loses the accent irregularly throughout the film, making one wonder as to his real story.

The villain/psycho-bitch in this film (played by Hannah Andersen) is as creepy and frightening as some of the greatly disturbed female demons in classic horror films. The demon child from The Ring comes to mind because of their dark wild hair, childlike demeanor, and ultra creepy otherworldly body movements. The commitment and intensity of Miss Andersen’s portrayal of Lydia is a delight to watch.

The Old Man (played by Dana Bailey) is well played as the innocent bystander, however his character arc is so short that suddenly he is on the wrong side of the car and swiping blood down a window. It was awesome! Adding yet another treasured moment to the charm of this film.

The sound effects for this film are gruesome, gory, and delectable. The music by Ariel Mann adds just the right amount of slasher tradition, and the costumes (by Natalia Collazo) and makeup (by Al Domino) blended wonderfully with the drama. All in all, this film is a must-see for those who are looking for something scary, campy, and non-traditional.



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