‘Lake Bodem’ is my favorite Finnish movie.
I love foreign films. The cinematography is always great, the music fits, the actors crush it, what’s not to love?
I just watched a film called, Lake Bodem from 2016. This was another one of my, “let’s pick a random horror foreign film that looks cool” movie. It succeeded to surprise me, and deliver material I’ve never seen before. That’s always refreshing to see, plus that’s hard to do in a time when original ideas cease to exist. Let’s get into it.
This has a very indie vibe to it right from the start. There was no hesitation in introducing the characters, and motifs. Now we don’t know exactly the motifs, but you can tell these characters already have a goal. All we know is that these two guys, will be involving two girls into whatever it is they’re planning. One notable thing was that the main girl Ida, has a crazy religious family and has apparently done something to embarrass them.
We find out not too far later, that they’re going to one of guys’ cabin. There’s no clear destination, so you already feel a little skeptical of the male characters. Once they get to the woods, one of the guys. Atte, explains that there was an unsolved murder there back in the 1960’s. The reason they all went out there, was to re-create the scenario to try and solve the murder; and that there was no cabin, so tent camping it is! Now to me, this wasn’t the strongest plot because how are you going to solve a mystery by re-creating it? Your only hope is that the murder shows back up, and you catch him somehow. But luckily the cinematography, the editing, the music and the acting all got me past that. Those other elements were just way to good to ignore.
The four characters seem to have settled in a bit, but are still on edge being all alone in the woods. My initial takes; the guys are creeps who are just trying to sleep with the girls, and the girls are innocent, gullible, and have been through something in the past. They separate as couples, and that’s where things begin to happen. Atte and Ida are in the tent trying to sleep, but keep hearing noises. Atte believes this is a prank by his friend. He ends up getting stabbed in the back and dying. This was kind of a surprise for me, because Atte was the one who knew all about the story. He was the most invested and most prepared, so I was assuming he would be one of the final ones. The other two come running, and end up running away, leaving Atte to die. I really liked this whole sequence because it seemed realistic. The characters don’t spend a ton of time with the dying Atte character. Usually in movies, they try and save someone, which is great don’t get me wrong. But if they’re going to die, you waste like five minutes awaiting your death. You got to get out of there! The other girl, Nora falls and hurts her ankle. On this chase, we find out that there were rumors that Ida had nude pictures going around. The story goes that Ida got drugged, or too drunk at a party, passed out, and someone stripped her and took photos. The other guy, Elias tells her that there were no actual photos, and it was just a rumor. During the confession, he gets stabbed in the back. Surprise! It’s Nora; I loved this! I figured Nora had more of a story, but wasn’t expecting this at all. But going back and seeing how she acted the whole beginning of the movie, it all made sense now.
Nora and Ida has this thing planned out for a while. These guys were the rumored students who initially took the photos and spread them around. So Nora and Ida planned to kill them similar to the Bodem murders of the 60’s. This was a very plausible motif, and as it may seem a little extreme to kill them, the guy’s 100% deserved it for what they did. The girls dump the body’s in Lake and realize the car keys were in Elias’ pocket. Ida has to dive to the bottom of the Lake and retrieve them. I liked this aspect as well. In lots of horror movies, losing the car keys seems ridiculous. It always has that, “Ugh” moment, but they executed it very well in this. Ida gets the keys and the two head back.’
In the car, we find out some crazy stuff! Nora confesses that made up the rumor, and she was the one who drugged and stripped Ida at the party. This is followed with a very well done montage of her doings. The music is perfect fitting, and the shots are beautiful. Nora’s reason was that she loved Ida. She was jealous that Ida and Elias were into each other, so that’s why she made Elias look like the bad guy. Nora mentions that she wants Ida all to herself, and for them to be only together. This is where we realize just how crazy Nora is. She’ll go to the extremes for love. This was also something that was unexpected and caught me off guard.
They end up in a crash, and a man is there to help them out. We quickly find out that this man has other intensions, and begins to kidnap them, The girls are then tied up, and put in bathing suits (like the murders from the 60’s). We’re not directly told that this was the man who committed these murders years ago, but we get a pretty good idea that he did. It then cuts to Ida laying on her front door step, in the bathing suit and all beaten up. This was a nice little addition to the story. Something I really enjoy about plots, is when another unexpected bad thing happens on top of an already terrible situation. I was so caught up in the surprise that Nora and Ida were the killers, that I forgot about the legend of Lake Bodem. I wasn’t sure who to root for in this situation. Nora was the true antagonist this whole time, this killer also has NO motif.
What really drew me into this film were the twists. Aside from the great acting and camera work, you want nothing but more twists in a film! That’s exactly what we got in Lake Bodem. I loved this film, there were few critiques I had about it and would definitely recommend it to slasher movie fans.