Harvest Lake (2016) review

Reviewed by Jonathan Weichsel
MoreHorror.com

Harvest Lake is written and directed by Scott Schirmer and stars Ellie Church, Tristan Risk, Jason Crowe, Dan Dye and Kevin Roach. Producers include Arthur Cullipher and Brian Williams.

Harvest Lake is about a group of four horny adults who rent a cabin in the woods. Yes, this has been the setup for literally thousands of horror films, but in the case of Harvest Lake, the usual formula is thrown out for something completely different. There are strange fungi growing in these woods that have the visual and tactile qualities of human sex organs. These fungi fascinate and seduce our campers one by one, and ejaculate spoors into their faces that lower their sexual inhibitions and ultimately take over their bodies for the purpose of sex.

Although Harvest Lake is conceptually brilliant, it is also kind of a confounding film to review, because it leaves so much open to interpretation. Harvest Lake is clearly a film about sex, but what wasn't clear to me, after watching the movie, is what exactly the film wants to say about sex. This is perfectly OK. I don't need movies to spoon feed me, and like to give things a little bit of thought. I have given Harvest Lake a little thought since watching it, and although this is admittedly rough, here is what I've come up with:

Although Harvest Lake is ostensibly about the heterosexual relationship between Cat (Tristan Risk) and Ben (Dan Nye,) this relationship is viewed largely from the point of view of Josh (Jason Crowe,) a gay man who is along for the ride. Ben jokingly flirts with Josh, and is casual and chill around him to the point that he laughs at every little thing that Josh does, and at one point very purposefully changes into swimming trunks in front of him. Outwardly, Josh responds to Ben's flirting with a good natured spirit, but inwardly there is a real sense of frustrated desire. For example, while they are all lying in the sun Josh reaches out his hand to touch Ben's hand before nervously jerking his hand away.

The characters in Harvest Lake talk about sexual pleasure, their likes, and their desires throughout the film, each one coming at the topic of sex from a different perspective. They even have sex with each other. But, flirting, talking about sex, and having sex doesn't exactly bring these characters together. Instead, their diverse sexualities alienate them each other. Enter the fungus. The fungus, which takes over people's brains, has pretty much the same effect on everybody in that it makes everybody the same, and although I won't give away the extremely bizarre and visually brilliant climax of the film, let's just say that the characters have a fungus-induced bonding experience.

Harvest Lake is kind of like what Invasion of the Body Snatchers would be if the pods were the good guys, and benevolently save humanity from the perils of radical individualism, except it's about sex. Since the fungus comes from nature, Harvest Lake is also about the power of nature to transcend individual consciousness.

Hey, all of this might be wrong. I don't usually get into trying to interpret films like this in my reviews, but Harvest Lake is such a challenging film that I thought I'd give it a shot. At any rate, Harvest Lake is a film that is sure to get people talking.

Harvest Lake is a must see film for anybody who likes their horror really, really weird. Check out the trailer here: https://vimeo.com/142467534

Like Harvest Lake on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/harvestlakemovie
Harvest Lake


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