Saturday, July 5, 2014

Neverlake Movie Review – Beware of Weird Fathers

Runtime: 86 minutes
Release Date: December 13, 2013
Rating: NR
Director: Riccardo Paoletti

On the same night that we rented Afflicated (look for that review soon!), we also snagged Neverlake from Redbox. The roommate decided to head up to bed and leave me alone to watch this one, and I have to say that he missed out. As excited as I was to finally see Afflicted, this was the movie that made me go, "now that's fucked up!"

Jenny is a young woman born in Italy but sent to her grandmother at an early age after her mother died. Her father is some type of doctor, but he also spends a lot of time holed up in his "studio" and working on a project. After introducing her to his maid/housekeeper/cook Olga, he promises to take her to the lake the next morning but then disappears before she gets up.

Though Olga asks her to stop and eat breakfast or stick close to home, she decides to take a walk by herself instead. While down by the lake, she meets a younger girl with bandages covering her eyes. The little girl asks for help getting home and later introduces Jenny to the other kids living in the same run down hospital type place with her. One of them cryptically warns her to watch out for adults because they're bad before she goes home.

Dr. Brook, AKA Jenny's dad, suggests they take a trip into the city the following day. Though he promises to take her to a great cafe, he leaves her on the street and makes a trip to a local store. There, he hands over a drawing to a man and asks him to make him "another one." The man confirms that he wants one just like the others before sending him on his way. Meanwhile, Jenny wanders into an antique toy store, sees a doll that looks familiar to her, and picks it up. That causes her to have a flashback, and she watches in horror as the doll's limbs all fall off.

The more Jenny spends at her father's house, the more weird things start happening. Paul, the oldest of the children she met before, reveals that he has a special connection to the people of the lake when he touches the water and brings up the silhouettes of people on the opposite side. The kids tell her that they want their statues back, which her father stole. When the kids reveal an odd knowledge of her father's home, Jenny realizes that there's something darker and sinister going on.

Neverlake might be one of those films that I watch once and completely forget, but I highly doubt it because this movie was really good and much better than I thought it would be. I complain a lot about movies that have multiple stories going on, but this one actually manages to tie everything together.

It starts out with a young girl moving to a huge country estate right on the water in Italy. You see those scenes and immediately think that it's just another classic ghost story. Then it throws in some historic mythology with the statues and people in the water, which makes you wonder where it's going next. You then hear several stories about Jenny's mother and see scenes of a woman dying next to the water and think it's a ghost story again. Throw in some scenes of Olga lurking in the background, her father outright lying to her, and what might just be someone locked in a hidden room, and you might feel like your head is spinning.

This is one of the few times when I actually want to reveal how the movie ends because I thought it was pretty surprising. I'm sure that people will say that they figured out the ending ahead of time, but Neverlake had one of those endings that literally made me say, "that's fucked up." Granted there was no one else in the room or around at the time, but I'm sure that I'll make my roommate watch this later.

Neverlake is available at most Redbox machines. Watch it without reading a lot about the movie and see what you think. Hopefully you'll like it as much as I did!

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