It’d be tough to go agog over Gitaskog, the original title of Creature Lake. Must’ve been a tough call for the filmmakers. After all, this one’s based on Algonquin folklore and a mouthful like that would certainly stand out, although probably not in a good way in terms of confusion/branding.
After wading through a glut of found footage films, this reviewer was pained to endure yet another, but somehow, against the toughest odds, plucky Creature Lake pulls through.
It’s one of those interlopers-on-sacred-land movies, where a group of campers is cursed by the spirit of something sinister. But it’s more than that as well.
In a nutshell, 5 bigoted misogynistic half-wits road-trip it out to Indian Country in an SUV over a Canada Day long weekend. And the proceedings are painstakingly documented by the least objectionable of the bunch – so backhanded a compliment it should come with a glove.
It’s possible some viewers may object to the guys being so off-putting as personalities that they’re unwilling to root for them, but that was probably intentional based on the set up, which might resonate more with Canadian viewers, our home on native land, etc.
As is often the case for these kinds of productions, the adventurers are given fair warning from an Algonquin bartender they dismiss as “kemosabe.” Leader of the pack Jason is a real estate speculator who’s gotten hold of a parcel of land on Big Lake, which is part of an Indian reserve and is equipped with a lake-view cabin.
Soon, he and his idiot friends are proclaiming their freedom to “drink what they want and piss where they want” without the interference of womenfolk, and they’re behaving like the coarse a-holes that they proved themselves to be earlier when getting shown out of a Native watering hole.
Croatian Mike falls off a rock while fishing, later claiming he was pulled in by a mysterious force, and it’s then that things start to unravel.
Not nearly as effective a male-bonding exercise as the captivating Canadian horror film White Raven, Creature Lake nonetheless fits into the Canuxploitation milieu quite nicely. There are actually a couple of genuinely creepy moments, and it takes you places you wouldn’t necessarily expect.
And it’s a nice touch that the weekend warrior crew is subjected to various nefarious forces at play out in the bush, and not just the tentacled creature depicted above.
*** (out of 5)