“Lake Bodom” Tackles A True-Crime Story With A Gruesome Tale Of Its Own





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Posted September 4, 2017 by

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Campground slashers are one of the more common horror sub-genre films. They have been done every way imaginable, and continue to produce mixed results for horror fans. For every Sleepaway camp there are a dozen Blair Witch Project 2’s, and that makes watching a new campground slasher far from being a guaranteed joyous experience. One way to make a murderous camping trip flick more interesting, is to base it on a true crime story. That is what director Taneli Mustonen did with his new film Lake Bodom.

In Finland, in 1960, two 15 year old girls and a 18 year old boy were brutally stabbed to death, while on a camping trip. The only survivor of the Lake Bodom murders was another 18 year old boy named Nils Wilhelm Gustafsson. Gustafsson was not listed as a suspect, until 2005 when he was found not guilty. There were multiple other suspects, but none were ever arrested and the case remains unsolved.

In Mustonen’s movie, four friends Ida (Nelly Hirst-Gee), Nora (Mimosa Willamo), Elias (Mikael Gabriel), and Atte (Santeri Helinheimo Mäntylä) travel to the site of the grisly murders to recreate the crime scene and test Atte’s theories of what happened to the victims. Each character is a familiar archetype of the genre, and once we settle into the story we feel as though this is going to retread some familiar terrain. Then Mustonen reaches into his bag of tricks, and the roller coaster ride begins, as each character begins to reveal their own motives for coming on this trip.

Lake Bodom is not impressive just because it has a crazy number of twists and turns. It does have them, but it’s the way that Mustonen cleverly executes them, and keeps them from feeling forced or even downright silly, that makes this movie work so well. Every time I thought I knew where things were heading I was quickly proven wrong, and for someone who has seen hundreds if not thousands of horror films that makes the viewing experience so much more fun.

This movie is well-acted, beautifully shot, and breezes through its 85 minute run time. For being a director, from a country that has produced a very small number of horror films, Mustonen seems like a prodigy. Hopefully he sticks with the genre and continues making original, enjoyable movies like Lake Bodom.





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