James Cullen Bressack
“When lamprey start attacking the citizens of a quiet lake town, it’s up to Fish & Wildlife Ranger, Michael, to uncover the mystery surrounding their on-land assault. However, he must first contend with Mayor Akerman who is unwilling to take any drastic measures so close to tourist season.”
- Shannen Doherty – Cate
- Jason Brooks – Michael
- Zack Ward – Will
- Christopher Lloyd – Mayor Akerman
- Ciara Hanna – Nicole
- Koosha Yar – Kyle
- Fred Stoller – Rich
- Rachel True – Marcy
- Jeremy Wade – Lamprey Expert
- Piranha 3D – Christopher Lloyd
- Piranha 3DD – Christopher Lloyd
- Ragin Cajun Redneck Gators – Delondra Williams
- Sharknado 2: The Second One – Rachel True
- Considering its 2014 release, Blood Lake is a very classic creature feature.
Whilst the story isn’t overly original, the film hits all the right beats and the action is very well paced. The majority of the named characters have motivations and agency and on the whole, the acting is actually pretty good (Zach Ward in particular). The cinematography is solid and there seems to a be a lot of thought put into the shots as the majority of the framing looks great and the tracking is very professional. Blood Lake serves as an antithesis to shaky handheld camera work which so many low budget productions rely on.
There are even a few very interesting flourishes including the inside-the-bucket shots and a fantastic moment where Nicole trips whilst fleeing the Lamprey horde and the camera just flows over her body.
There’s also a very classic approach to the creatures. A lot of modern creature features tend to introduce the creature in the first 10 minutes then have it disappear for the majority of the runtime but here the Lampreys constantly have a presence and their threat slowly builds. It’s not just a case of random death, random death, named character death, random death, the Lampreys are steadily multiplying and migrating until they become a seemingly unstoppable force.
I really liked the prosthetic Lampreys and there is a fantastic bit of practical SFX at the beginning when a Lamprey takes out (literally) someone’s eye. Unfortunately the film is mostly reliant on CGI Lampreys and the VFX aren’t that great but considering the scale required, it’s an understandable decision. Sometimes ambition is more commendable than great execution.
There is also a surprise cameo from TV presenter and extreme fisherman, Jeremy Wade, as a nameless Lamprey Expert. I am a huge fan of River Monsters so his 30 seconds of screen time is easily my highlight of the film.
Attack of the Killer Lampreys is a really fun and surprisingly educational film (turns out lampreys aren’t eels but jawless fish). With its classic sensibilities, Blood Lake has enough flare, ambition and acting talent to be a very enjoyable and exciting feature with a genuinely threatening creature.