Movies Reviews

The Lake: Why You Should Be Excited for this Thai Creature Feature

Despite significant differences in how cultures are formed, you can always find some commonalities shared between them. For example, food is often a terrific way of bridging the gaps between two different groups. Everyone needs to eat — it only makes sense to appeal to the most basic necessities to form a mutual understanding. You could also argue that most people would be afraid of giant lake monsters. While we haven’t had to contend with the likes of Godzilla or the Loch Ness Monster yet, it’s safe to assume just about everyone would feel the same way about them.

The upcoming creature feature, The Lake, aims to combine the best from these monolithic creatures, combining the scope and scale of Cloverfield with the intimate city of Bueng Kan in Thailand. A co-production between China and Thailand, those who can’t get their fill of giant monster movies will have to catch The Lake when it comes to theaters on Mar. 10 and video-on-demand on Mar. 14. However, if you’re still not sold on The Lake, here are a few reasons you should see it.

Practical Effects by Jordu Schell

Epic Pictures

Any monster movie needs a good monster. It sounds obvious at first, but it goes a level beyond just making a cool-looking creature. Godzilla was famously inspired by the fears of nuclear power stemming from the bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. Gwoemul, the creature from Bong Joon-ho’s The Host, criticized the influence of the United States and portrayed South Korea’s domestic government as inept. These are just two examples of how the “monster” acts as a visual representation of the film’s themes.

With The Lake being inspired by real-world environmental disasters, especially in the wake of the recent disastrous train derailment in Ohio, it’s safe to assume that it’ll touch on a simple theme. Namely, the theme of humanity messing with nature can lead to disastrous consequences. Even something as innocent as a child accidentally disturbing an isolated egg in the wilderness can lead to a significant disturbance of the environment — or, in this instance, a giant monster erupting from the lake. There’s a reason why nature trails emphasize the principle of “leave no trace.”

Related: 15 Unforgettable Eldritch Monsters in Horror Movies

Of course, it helps that the creature from The Lake looks absolutely stunning. The beast comes to the big screen courtesy of Jordu Schell. Those who have seen Cloverfield, The Mist, or a handful of other grisly horror flicks will likely recognize his handiwork. Most of the creature’s effects will be practical, which should excite any horror fan. While CGI has improved significantly in the past few years, practical effects will always have an edge in feeling more “real” and having a genuine presence on screen. It’ll always be easier for actors to work around a physical object compared to pretending one is there, and with just how gargantuan The Lake’s monster is, it’ll be particularly exciting to see it stomp around and smash things up.

A Distinctly Thai Setting

the lake thai police badge crowd rain
Epic Pictures

Being Thailand’s first big-budget kaiju film, you can expect The Lake to be distinct from both domestic kaiju films and those from Thailand’s neighboring countries.

Related: Some of the Biggest Kaiju Movie Monsters of All Time

Taking place in Bueng Kan, located in a province of the same name, it’s a geographical region that can foster multiple creative opportunities when it comes to giant monsters. The city’s name can be roughly translated into “black marsh,” giving an appropriate setting for the creature to rise from. Likewise, the city serves as a hub between multiple high-population areas in Thailand and primarily receives revenue from tourism. Finally, giant monsters are primarily synonymous with destruction and disruption, and having an area facilitate is necessary for generating the shock and awe required for the genre. Having said all this, Bueng Kan looks to be an ample location for the film to take place in.

Much like Godzilla and The Host touched on contemporary ideas relevant to their home countries, we may also see The Lake tackle a similar approach for Thailand. While environmentalism is a primary focus of The Lake, we may see the film incorporate Buddhist ideology, criticism of the country’s monarchy, or other aspects of Thailand’s unique culture.

An Intriguing Giant Monster Movie

the lake Sompong Kunaprathom rain poncho storm fisherman
Epic Pictures

Without diving too deep into spoiler territory, there’s already been a good amount of online discussion surrounding The Lake, especially regarding its unconventional ending. So while we won’t spoil it for you here, we’ll say this: wouldn’t it be worth trying something different?

The Lake getting international distribution is exciting for that very reason. But, whether you end up falling in love with the film or ultimately disliking it, would it be wrong to say that exposing yourself to an idea beyond your preferences is beneficial? To see how others may be inspired by the same works we hold so dearly but molded to their own vision?

Either way, The Lake looks to be a fun time in a period where monster movies are currently in a drought. So as we wait for other films to help fill the reservoir, why not take a chance on this Thai creature feature? You may walk away having your horizons broadened or, at the very least, feel entertained by the terrific creature on display.

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