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The Asylum Almost Made an Enjoyable Movie

I complained about The Asylum before.  And while I was probably definitely exaggerating back when I said that Sharknado was killing the B-movie genre - shitty movies made on the cheap with no effort is kind of the definition of a "B movie" - I definitely still believe in the central thesis of that rant, which is that The Asylum is a poisonous disease that deserves no attention.

Well, last week I saw another Asylum experim... ugh.  I can barely get into introducing the movie without feeling like I have to justify it.  Admitting that I intentionally watched an Asylum movie feels like I'm announcing that I intentionally jacked off to dragon-on-car porn.

Deep breath.  Okay.  It's okay.

Last week I watched Blood Lake: Attack of the Killer Lampreys.  It was a bad movie.


Ordinarily I'd just leave it there, since this isn't really a place where I talk about bad movies.  But Blood Lake was a bit odd.  It's probably the closest thing to a good (or good-bad) movie I've seen in The Asylum's oeuvre.  And in my book, that means it merits at least a good 500 words or so while I try to decipher what this means.

I would like to reiterate one more point before I move on: this was a bad movie.  Under no circumstances should you bother to seek it out and watch it.  It is not a valuable use of your time.

But Blood Lake succeeded at a few things that most of its kin can barely even dream of.  For one thing, there actually was a coherent plot with forward momentum.  There were characters who came face to face with a threat, and once the conflict was underway, they took actions to resolve it.

The actors actually put in some proper effort for once, giving hammy performances that are halfway interesting and believable.  (Special kudos to Zack Ward, Shannen Doherty, and Christopher Lloyd, who breathed a surprising amount of life into parts that were otherwise useless.)  And the CGI effects were used only when necessary or appropriate.

I guess what I'm trying to say is that Blood Lake was actually a movie, whereas most of The Asylum's output is a miscellaneous collection of video clips of D-list celebrities loosely wrapped around a premise that started as an inside joke between the nineteen year-old hipster interns working in their mail room.

Before this starts to sound like I'm some grandpa who doesn't get movies, I do understand that the point of the movie was to be ironically funny.  And that's exactly my complaint about The Asylum.  They try so hard to be ironic, they forget that irony isn't something you can plan for. Usually their movies devolve into CGI nonsense and become boring slogs.  Blood Lake eventually does fall apart that same way; the last 30 minutes are dull as hell.

But here's the weird thing: It actually is really funny.  Sometimes.  Occasionally.

There's a bad line read here or a bad bit of blocking there.  A dash of non-logic or bad logic.  A ridiculous and cheesy effect that's disarmingly charming.

An actor is attacked by rubber lampreys and the scene needs to end with him falling into a lake - but since the lampreys have no mass, he pretty much just dives in of his own accord.  Doherty tries to warn her son about the killer eel-thing that is limping toward him, and she limply says, as if pointing out a piece of fuzz on his shirt, "Oh... careful.  There's a lamprey."  That kind of thing.  You know, the sort of stuff that makes B-movies fun.

Best of all is the prolonged sequence in which Doherty's son is trapped in the... something?  Okay, well, the script calls it an "attic."  But it's very obviously a basement.  It's ten feet tall, has cinder block walls, has high windows, and has air ducting running all over the ceiling.  Anyway, the kid's supposed to be freaking out because there are killer lampreys in the water supply, so they show him looking terrified / fascinated by somebody's car keys, and then they cut to a point of view shot of a supply line... which is actually just an air duct.

There's not nearly enough of this stuff to sustain a good Drunk Movie Night, but moments like this make this movie almost fun.  And since I've never had even a moment of joy in watching an Asylum movie, this is practically a religious experience for me.  For a second I saw the face of God, and now I have faith.

...nah, nevermind.  I'm not going to give them that much credit.  But I have to swallow my pride a little bit and say... good job?  Sorta?  I'm sorry, guys, I'm not good at giving compliments.  This is new to me.

Blood Lake (which I've repeatedly warned you not to watch) is available on Netflix Instant.