Directed by Taneli Mustonen
Every camper’s worst nightmare came true at Lake Bodom in 1960 when four teenagers were stabbed to death while sleeping in their tent. As the years passed and the case grew cold, the unsolved mystery turned into an urban legend, a creepy campfire story passed from generation to generation. Now, a group of teenagers arrives at the same campsite, hoping to solve the murder by reconstructing it minute by minute. As night falls, it turns out that not all of them are there to play. Tonight… it’s girls against boys. Let the killing games begin.
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★★★½ review by Marianna Neal on Letterboxd
A surprisingly solid slasher! Loved the setting and the filming style, the acting is good as well, and I have to give Lake Bodom credit for trying to put an interesting spin on slasher tropes. That being said, the last act of the film feels rushed (the movie is only 1hr 25min), and doesn't really get enough room to have an impact. I don't want to get into spoilers, but some of the twists and turns in this film work while others seem like a stretch. Still, if you're a horror fan and are looking for a well-made summer slasher, I would recommend checking this one out.
★★★★ review by Chris Genro on Letterboxd
A stylish and really well shot slasher/thriller from Finland that has some really incredible moments. The thing that hurts it somewhat is (I'm being vague here) the constant shifts in the story which makes it difficult to engage with our protagonists. The first two acts I was really not that impressed with the film but when we hit that final act that's when things really get going and it really redeemed it for me. There's definitely some of the classic slasher cliches being used here but I think it changes things up enough to really stand out from the crowd. 4/5 stars.
★★★★ review by coles84 on Letterboxd
Scavenger Hunt 35/Film 17/A film that was shown at 2017 sxsw
Talk about twists! This fine film from Finland displays more shocks and intrigue than most films I have seen lately. It’s original, unique and interesting. Go in to this film without knowing much and you will be in for a really great experience. The acting is good, the direction is and the cinematography is beautiful at times. The writing is what stands out the most though and makes the film feel totally unpredictable. Think Harper’s Island condensed and you may get close to this film.
★★★★ review by James Peter Cox on Letterboxd
Now thats its streaming on Shudder, hopefully this teens in the woods,( non-cabin) smarter than your average slasher will find an audience!!!
★★★½ review by Shaun Munro on Letterboxd
Probably the closest thing yet to an art-house version of Friday the 13th, Bodom playfully subverts genre tropes while making the most of a talented young cast and some beautiful visual work.
The 1960 Lake Bodom murders, where three campers were brutally slaughtered by an unknown assailant, are a very real mainstay of Finnish culture, and here four youngsters travel to the very same location in an attempt to try and piece together exactly what happened. Naturally, it isn't long before things go south, and they have to contend with a savage killer hunting them down.
It's a familiar set-up, sure, but the real-life hook is a nice touch, and writer-director Taneli Mustonen wastes little time on stodgy build-up; this is tense from mere minutes in, while introducing a quartet of characters far away from the hormonal horndogs who have plagued the genre for literally decades.
That's what really makes Bodom such a treat; it eagerly subverts conventions wherever it can. There's no cabin for one, the character banter and development is genuinely thoughtful for the most part, and there are a number of expectation-defying plot twists simply too delicious to even hint at.
It's also an incredibly well put together film from a technical standpoint; cinematography is especially gorgeous, while a synth score fits the mood perfectly, even if it's kind of a pat pre-requisite for the genre by this point. Though presumably cobbled together for a fairly low budget, this has a slick, professional sheen throughout that compliments the thoroughly subversive tone.
There are certainly minor quibbles, though, specifically the abundance of a few moldy genre cliches - some low-effort fake-out scares and the inevitable clumsy character who falls over and hurts their leg - while the ending also falls a little flat because it's simply more familiar than the rest of the movie.
That said, the lean run-time, abundance of black comedy, skilled cast and sharp direction make it a mostly concise, muscular little horror flick that could do solid business on Netflix.
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