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Harvest Lake - Forbidden Films Print E-mail
User Rating: / 13
Written by Richard Taylor   
Friday, 18 March 2016

Directed by: Scott Schirmer
Written by: Scott Schirmer
Produced by: Scott Schirmer, Brian Williams
Editing by: Brian Williams
Special Effects by: Arthur Cullipher
Music by: Adam Robl, Shawn Sutta
Cast: Jason Crowe, Ellie Church, Tristan Risk, Dan Nye, Kevin Roach
Year: 2016
Country: USA
Language: English
Color: Color
Runtime: 1h 18min

Distribution: Forbidden Films

Thanks to director and writer of Harvest Lake, Scott Schirmer, for being super quick for sending along a screener of his latest erotic monster opus. Harvest Lake's creation is possible in part due to a successful fundraising campaign. The movie has been released on Blu-ray in a limited collectorís edition with a bonus DVD and extras and has been doing extremely well, selling out the first 250 copies. 

Schirmer is known for directing the movie Found (review can be found on here at Severed Cinema) and involvement in the movie Headless (double feature review of Found and Headless here on Severed Cinema) which was realized into a movie itself after being featured as a faux movie within the movie Found. Found achieved notoriety by picking up a bunch of awards at different horror festivals around the world and brought his name into the limelight as an up-and-coming talent. Schirmer was also co-producer and editor, among other roles on Headless which was also produced by Forbidden Films.

Scott studied film theory, video production and screenwriting at Indiana University and even received a scholarship and a grant to pursue his interest in short films. Co-founder of the production company Forbidden films, Scott resides in Bloomington, Indiana as a video producer for a publishing company. He's on a committee for The Diabolique International Film Festival and once managed Bloomington's well known Von Lee Theater. 

Harvest Lake comes to us as a whole different entity entirely and throws out any basic concepts the viewer might have of a group of young adults spending the weekend at a cabin in the woods. It takes this basic premise, which has been rehashed, regurgitated and re-ran and puts a whole other worldly spin on it. It takes beautiful photography and a majestic musical score, accompanied by an otherworldly sexually charged theme, from which the viewer can derive their own meaning from and something which may take multiple views to be understood, or multiple views to leave one still scratching their head depending on what the viewer themselves can get out of the experience. Itís an offbeat, slow burn of a movie and if you loved Schirmers earlier works and are expecting something similar then you will be in for a shock. Itís not a slick horror/thriller like Found and itís not an all-out gore fest like Arthur Cullipher's Headless.

Four friends are going to celebrate Josh's birthday, played by Jason Crowe (Dead Moon Rising, Easter Casket). The two female stars are Jennifer played by the delectable Ellie Church (Time to Kill, Headless) and Cat played by fellow Canadian Tristan Risk (The Editor, American Mary). Finally we have Ben played by Dan Nye (The Boyfriend Project, The Legend of Wasco) and Ben's love interest Mark, Kevin Roach (Confession of Fred Krueger, Afterschool Special) who they meet later. As soon as they set foot near the lake a bizarre feeling takes them over and ravishes their beings into bizarre sexual behaviors and encounters. There is something in the lake and soon it will consume them.

Harvest Lake is a very sexually charged film. There is some nudity, but I felt it was pretty reserved in what it showed and it never seemed exploitative to me, or raunchy, but all those sexual metaphors are there slapping you in the face. We get ejaculating plants, mushrooms that seem like a clitoris, green murky tentacles and lots of foamy white bodily fluids, including some phallic imagery. What I like about the film is its unique take on a tired and over treaded genre but the area where I feel it could have been stronger is in character development. I would have liked to see those characters the viewer can relate with more and get into more. I give credit to Schirmer for giving us an honest gay love encounter between Ben and Mark, a very ballsy move and why not, we get to see straight love encounters ad nauseum in horror/thrillers so that sexual boundary seems to be broken in modern times, but we still see very little of it in films unless it is based around the direct plot.

The gooey bodily fluid driven effects and creature effects were done by The Clockwerk Creature Company which consists of familiar names Shane Beasley (the killer and effects man in Headless and effects on Found) and Arthur Cullipher (director of Headless and special effects supervisor, plus effects man on Found). Ellie Churchís husband Brian Wilson (Time to Kill) was a producer, cinematographer and editor on this and another familiar name you might recognize Dustin Mills (director of Her Name was Torment 1 & 2, Kill That Bitch, Easter Casket) did the visual effects.

I recommend checking out Harvest Lake if youíre tired of the same old same old. You'll be pleasantly surprised if youíre into films that stray off the beaten path. This movie really has something going here and a departure from what Schirmer has already done. Letís look to future endeavors and see what Schirmer has in store for us.






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