Lake Michigan Monster
lake michigan monster | ryland brickson cole tews | erick west | beulah peters | nightmares film festival | nff | monster | creature | lovecraftian | adventure | comedy | fantasy | mystery | united states | daniel long | wayne tews | steve hoelter | lucille tews
Film: Lake Michigan Monster
Director: Ryland Brickson Cole Tews
Writer: Ryland Brickson Cole Tews
Starring: Ryland Brickson Cole Tews, Erick West and Beulah Peters
This was the film that kicked off the final day of the Nightmares Film Festival. I heard from a couple guys who were at the festival the night before that this was a wild one from the trailers they saw. This is also the Ohio premiere for it as well. The synopsis is an eccentric ship captain and crew of specialists plot revenge against the most mysterious creature of the deep, the Lake Michigan Monster.
We start this learning about the crux of what is going on. Ryland Brickson Cole Tews, who is also the writer and director, plays a man who lives in a lighthouse with his wife and his father was killed. He hires a weapons expert, a sonar technician and a navy man to help him hunt down and kill what took his father. These people he hires Erick West, Beulah Peters and Daniel Long.
The come up with a few different plans of attack. Things take a turn though when one of the members of the team are attacked by the creature and then an egg is found. It is destroyed and this angers the creature even more. Ryland is keeping things from the rest of his team and there’s a much deeper back-story than any of them realized, which leads to him coming face to face with this creature as well as the truth of his past.
Now I wanted to go a little bit lighter on the recap here as there’s not a lot to this story and a good portion of it is really at the end which I don’t want to spoil. I should also point out that this is a comedy. Most of it isn’t to be taken serious for sure. It is a revenge tale at heart as well. I almost feel like there’s the underlying belief that eventually, we have to stop seeking revenge or there’ll be no one left or the adage ‘an eye for an eye leaves the whole world blind’.
This film actually kind of has a Lovecraftian vibe to it that I can dig. There’s a sea creature that is kind of similar to being like a Loc Ness Monster, in that it is just living down there. When we finally see it, it has a low budget look, but I definitely dug it. Since I’ve kind of moved to the effects, I should state that this is mostly done on green screen. If this film was more serious, I would have hated it. Since this is played for laughs it works. They definitely use the comedy to hide the lower budget, so I can’t harp too much. It is also shot in black and white with an old timey feel. That I actually did like.
I’ll move next to the pacing of this. With a runtime of 78 minutes, it’s perfect. They know what they’re doing here, so they came in with a lower running time which actually kind of feels like those sci-fi films from the 1950’s. The problem I have though is being a comedy, it really did have trouble building tension. Some of the comedy landed for me, especially a gag about how early the liquor stores in Milwaukee close, but some of it felt a bit forced. I did like the ending even though how outrageous it was.
As for the acting, it is most definitely over the top while still working for me. Tews is pretty funny as the lead here and I think the rest of the team he assembles is as well. There are really some times where something is said and they just kind of look at each other. That awkwardness is actually something I really dig in films like this. I also thought that Peters was pretty cute as well if I’m going to be honest, I really like her glasses as well.
Now with that said, don’t come in expecting a serious film or even one with the most coherent storyline. It is one to turn your brain off and have some laughs. It is a Lovecraftian inspired revenge tale that just gets more and more outrageous as we go. The acting is over the top, it doesn’t outstay its welcome and I think the ending works. The look of the movie is good, but it’s a bit too heavy on effects. The soundtrack didn’t really stand out to me, but it did fit for what was needed. Overall I’d say this is a fun film that you should check out with your friends and have drinks. I wasn’t overly big on it aside from the laughs. I’d say it is just slight over average for me.
My Rating: 5.5 out of 10