03rd Nov2021

‘Disappearance of Lake Elrod’ DVD Review

by Alain Elliott

Stars: Robyn Lively, Shanola Hampton, Bethany Anne Lind, Michael Trucco | Written by Lauren Fash, Susan Graham | Directed by Lauren Fash

If you’re watching this movie based on the poster/cover art work alone, you might be disappointed because that shows what seems to be some kind of cabin in the woods, creepy lake side horror and Disappearance of Lake Elrod is very much not that.

What we do get is a psychological drama where a woman, Charlie, a year after her daughter disappeared, sees another young girl disappear in the town she lives in. Believing there’s a connection she the draws suspicion from the local law enforcement and townsfolk but neither can stop her from uncovering the truth.

It does immediately draw the viewer into this kind of dark and depressing world around Charlie. You feel that she has been in this bad place for a long time and does not look like getting out of it. You know exactly what her character is, the situation she is in and how she is feeling. This is in no doubt due in a big part because of the performance of experienced lead actress Robyn Lively. Perhaps best known for her role in The Karate Kid III, she is excellent here. Seemingly inspired by the best performances of Frances McDormand, she makes you feel all the emotion the character is going through while showing that drained almost emotionless expression through much of the movie. It’s a big story with lots going on but Lively is key to it all and she’s like the glue that keeps it together and lets stuff unfold in the right moments. Recent Midnight Mass star Michael Trucco also makes a brief (but important appearance) but isn’t on screen enough to make much of an impact.

Many of the characters are decent enough but feel all to generic – the reporter looking for a story she desperately needs, the police officer that believes Charlie is guilty even if she clearly isn’t – you will have seen them before and while the performances are fine, none of the characters really stand out from the pack.

Disappearance At Lake Elrod does tackle a few issues in interesting ways and not just the most obvious one of how parents deal with the grief of losing a child. That is of course explored in a delicate and strongly-performed way but there’s more stories told here that I can’t talk much about without spoilers. That said, the conclusion of the movie does surprise and it’s the biggest reason to give it at least a second watch. All of a sudden new questions are asked and you’ll rack your brain through previous scenes to understand what is happening.

Unfortunately despite having some heavy and emotional scenes, none of them seem to hit home quite like they should. There’s some truly shocking revelations and moments but I didn’t feel like I was invested enough in things for them to have enough of an impact. Which is a shame because first time feature film (non-documentary) director Lauren Fash has done a great job with the style and ideas behind the movie. There is a strong, thought-provoking movie here that just occasionally gets lost along the way.

*** 3/5

Disappearance At Lake Elrod is out now on DVD and Digital from Lightbulb Film Distribution.


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