Amber Lake (2011) Poster


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Disappointing movie
lkwood-1769817 April 2016
I don't understand the good reviews at all. 35 minutes in I had to stop watching, I just couldn't take anymore. The plot summary sounded like it might not be bad and the setting made it appealing. I have liked Carmen Argenziano and Timothy Murphy in other movies so I guess I held out hope that this one might get better. I was wrong. The writing is terrible and it's hard to judge the acting given the lines they are working with. I gave it a 2 since I had it on 35 minutes to see if it got better, really because of the actors I mentioned. I was holding out-hope. However there is a lot of overacting,whining and flouncing around, it didn't feel genuine. And I've been home sick a few days so I am not being so particular as to what I watch. Not worth the time.
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Uninteresting, long, boring
Penny L4 October 2015
This movie was so terrible that I'm surprised it comes with a rating of 6/10. The acting was bland and the dialogue was stiff and dry, like I had already heard it in 400 other movies. Each sister has a mental illness but their portrayal of that illness is over-the-top, totally cliché, and overall very tired. I had to watch this movie for my class but after that first half I just let it play in the background because it was dragging on and on and on. This 80 minute film could have been condensed into an hour or less but instead I was forced to watch this slow-to-pick-up film all the way to the end. Avoid if you can, this is not a good movie. The only reason I gave this a 3 instead of a 1 was because the cinematography and soundtrack was good for an indie film.
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Not what I expected!
paigenicole8929 October 2014
When I first watched the trailer of this movie I mm this will be either be really good, or really bad. I was leaning more towards the bad.I was really bored at the time and thought I would just give it a shot, if I don't like it in twenty minutes I will turn it off...which never happened. This was a great movie. Not your traditional thriller but it keep you thinking and engaged the whole movie! The characters fit perfectly and you really start to get into the story. This movie really threw me off from what I was thinking it would be like. I would recommend watching this movie!! It is a different type of movie but worth the watch! It is great until the very end!
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Interesting writing exercise
SnoopyStyle25 June 2014
Pyschologist Dr Patrick Thomas (Carmen Argenziano) invites his three daughters to his lake house. All three are from different mothers and don't know each other's existence. Patrick left Amber Thomas (Polly Cole) when she was 4 and she's a psychologically damaged writer. Amber Hannold (Mekenna Melvin) is hiding her damage with sarcasm and anger whose crazy mother was Patrick's patient. Amber Allen (Natalie Smyka) is outwardly flamboyant and happy. He uses his skills to diagnose each one's psychological problems and thereby angering all of them. Two days later, he's dead and Sergeant Eugene Stockard (Timothy V. Murphy) investigates. Each sister has a different version of events pointing to another sister as the suspect.

There is some interesting writing from Joe Robert Cole inspired from classics like Rashômon. It's a small budget indie. Everybody does a good job. I do wish for more time with Carmen Argenziano. He is by far the most experienced and most compelling actor. His character is actually the most fascinating. The cop is the weakest. His scenes are the most uninteresting and his character the most problematic. He really contributes nothing and should have limited screen time. The 3 ladies do a good job but I wish they have snappier dialog. I wonder if it would be more compelling if writer Amber is functionally mute. I just think some more directing skills and a more intense Hitchcockian feel is needed.
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Amber lake review
dddimora12 February 2014
Very interesting movie.

I found this movie on Netflix and was surprised that it was decent as I had never heard of it.

Three half-sisters all named Amber are invited to the cottage in Amber Lake by their estranged father who, two days later, is found dead near the lake.

Three Ambers are interviewed separately by the local sheriff. Each one of them tells a different story for what happened.

Not the best acting, slow at times but overall a decent movie.

For a low budget independent film it is a decent film. 6.5/10
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Nothing to redeem this horrible film
knittink32 February 2014
I am trying to figure out how this really, really bad film has so many positive reviews, both here and elsewhere. I can only guess a savvy marketer is hard at work. There is no way this many actual people 1.) saw this movie and 2.) were motivated to write about marvelous it is.

I won't divulge anything about the plot, except that in a "high concept" way it is interesting. But the devil is in the details, and that's where this thing falls of the axles. It's as if the director said to the main actresses "Act crazy! No, even MORE crazy!!" in every scene they are in. There is no restraint, subtlety or nuance. Every emotion is hammered home with an emotional sledge hammer. Watching these performances is like listening to a singer who thinks she needs to scream every word.

Not that the actors had a lot to work with. The script is laughably bad, full of worn-out stereotypes. The main characters aren't individuals, they are each a clichéd personification of mental illness.

Finally, if you do decide to watch this movie, please don't think that it will get better as it goes along. What you get the first ten minutes is what you will get for the whole tedious hour and twenty minutes.
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Terri Smith14 July 2013
Though the cinematography and location/sets were on a budget and while the actors were not notable for previous work the plot and story line were very well done. Had this project been afforded a healthier budget I believe this could have easily been a top contender in the box office. It was a great script on a strict budget but I enjoyed it immensely. I thought I had it figured out about half way through and just rode with the story and then ...boom.... I simply did not expect the ending. I would love to see more scripts from this writer . The directorship could have been a little better but at least it was not over played which would have made a low budget film intolerable. I would watch this again.
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Amateur Hour
bob_meg19 May 2013
Warning: Spoilers
Imagine if your local junior high school attempted to rewrite and perform their own version of Rashamon and you'd probably get something close to the juvenile travesty that is Amber Lake.

Virtually the only part of this VOD-from-hell bomb that's tolerable is the premise, and that's because, yes, it's a blatant borrow from the structure of the Kurosawa classic. In this case, it's three very dissimilar sisters, all sharing the same first name, who are invited to a Michigan lake house by the father who abandoned all three of them. Shortly after the reunion, naturally, the father turns up a floater in the titular body of water.

Sounds promising, right? Well, it might be if the dialog didn't stink. No, just calling it "bad" wouldn't be doing it justice. Most of the script is unbelievably dumb, with short choppy sentences that range from inarticulate to campy awkwardness. It's dialog a sixth grader (and not a very bright one) would write. The father is drawn as such an over-the-top pompous ass, and the daughters as such histrionic basket-cases that it's impossible to connect with any of them on any plane resembling reality.

The performances are equally tone deaf, which makes you wonder if this is really one of those homegrown indie shoestring projects. But has a casting director...WTF?

This is rich emotional material that could have been mined for some very heady drama, and it's all been wasted. Actually, I'm not sure first time filmmaker Joe Robert Cole has the ability to make films or perhaps he's just overshot himself. Then again, there are a lot of technical problems with this film...the editing is sloppy, even the audio edits are clumsy.

It's too bad there wasn't an adult in the vicinity who could offer the toxic criticism offered by the character of the father in this film. It could have saved Cole a lot of embarrassment and us a lot of time.
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Surprisingly good psych thriller
NYAmicas30 March 2013
I found this movie on Netflix and was surprised at how decent it was as I had never heard of it. After their father, three individual daughters just met is found dead in the lake, the audience is taken through their individual accounts of what led up to the murder. The acting was pretty great considering the actresses were portraying mentally imbalanced people and the camera and direction were noticeably professional. It wasn't a huge production but dialogue, setting, cinematography, acting, etc, writing, was on point. It's a slow paced film but will keep you interested to see how it will end. I would definitely recommend this Independent movie to others to check out if they want to view something good and new. 7/10
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mdarmocida16 March 2013
This thing plays like a movie from the Lifetime channel and should not be in the horror or thriller genre. Basically, three sisters who never met are invited to meet the dad that they never met. When the dad finally shows up he goes to be and listens to them over a baby monitor while they get to know each other over fish, wine, and pot. During which they reveal their inner most conflicts. Really? If I wanted to watch a chick-flick, then that's what I would have rented. The dialog is also drawn out and dry. I got through the first thirty minutes and then turned off the movie because it was so boring! Believe me, there's no way a movie like this could have gotten better.
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Rashômon in Amber Lake
totti1274 July 2012
Amber Lake is fun enough to watch. It takes me a while to find a thought-provoking film on such a low budget but with good quality. Three half-sisters all named Amber are invited to the cottage in Amber Lake by their estranged father who, two days later, is found dead near the lake. Three Ambers are interviewed separately by the local sheriff. Each one of them tells a different story for what happened. Without a doubt, Amber Lake is inspired by the masterpiece Rashômon, but it has its own flavour. I recommend this film to those who are into watching thought-provoking thrillers that you will never find out the truth until the very end. 6.8/10 for a nicely made independent film.
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Did not see the end coming
scoup14 April 2012
Amber Lake is a good movie with not the greatest acting.

More story background would have been nice since it seemed a little thin in areas.

I would have liked to know more about the father.

It was somewhat unrealistic how the three sisters bonded so quickly.

The chick with the body of a 10 year old boy was annoying.

There were several slow moments leading up to the reveal.

I did like the twist ending.

Overall it is worth viewing.

Wished it was better because it could have been really good.
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Amber Lake comes with a plot we haven't seen before
J. Davis17 February 2012
It is an unusual plot idea having a father with three daughters all from different mothers that he abandoned at birth. He invites all three of them, all with the name Amber & all having never met one another before this trip, to come up to his lake house for the weekend. In his mind I believe he was thinking of the psychology side of the affair above all else. As that was his main agenda from go. Well obviously this would never be a good idea, as there is just too much overwhelming emotion at one time for any one of the girls to process. I would say this was a Drama only, I certainly wasn't thrilled at any point and the film is more about psychology than anything else. I didn't feel for any of the characters & it lacked any serious emotion IMHO. The ending wasn't a surprise to me as I had thought it might be the case from the start. I would recommend this but only for Drama fans. My vote would be about 6/10. Certainly the vote box was massively stuffed as are the other 2 b.s. reviews. When will they learn how obvious they are?
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Amber Lake, chilling and charming at once!
SanderT17 October 2011
Amber Lake is a low budget movie with high qualities. Joe Robert Cole directed this psychological thriller which takes place at Amber Lake. Psychiatrist Patrick Thomas wants to meet his three daughters each called Amber before his life is coming to an end. The three sisters, each with their own disorder and named after the Amber Lake, get the chance to meet their father for the first time in their adult life. Two days after they finally meet each other, he is found dead in their lake and name, Amber.

Following that moment, the movie starts to become a psychological murder mystery. And a good one I may add. The performances delivered by the three upcoming actresses are chilling and charming at once. There is a fine line between overacting a inner disorder and underacting the severe impact such an disorder could have. I'm glad to say that they walked that fine line perfectly. There are even some funny subtle moments in the movie, which even give the characters more depth. Watching the story unfold and seeing more of their disorder come to light is both a thrill and unsettling. The portrayal of the father completes the ensemble both performance and presence wise. He is played with an authority which is a good contrast with how the Ambers are portrayed.

I have to say, for a director at the start of his professional career, this movie will be one that even after years to come, he can look back upon with great satisfaction. It's a raw movie, with some interesting cuts to a beat during the intro and further along the movie. The sound design is great, lending sound cues from the TV show "Lost" and "The Dark Knight" but bending them towards the character of this movie. The stringy sound of the music, helps set the mood of anarchy in the minds of the three sisters and their father. But also the absence of music in the movie emphasizes the loneliness of each character. The visual presentation is in conjuncture with the sound and theme of the movie. Empty wide shots filled with characters who fill the scene with emptiness. It feels like a slideshow, where every picture empty as it is, is rich of details and tells a story, which combined makes the movie more than a sum of its parts. Although it is low budget, the total look and feel could have been from a high budget production where the director made stylistic choices ending up with the same result.

This is a great movie for everyone who likes murder mysteries with a partially surprising end. Minor faults in audio recording and some quirky filmed shots (which maybe were even left in on purpose during the editing) don't make the movie less good. It even gives it a certain quality which you rarely see in low budget movies. Normally a low budget movie shows us what can't be done, this movie shows us, what can be done. Doing this on a lower budget definitely makes it worth 9 out of 10. As mentioned before, this movie is more than the sum of its parts, well worth seeing.
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I really enjoyed Amber Lake the movie
Jeff-W16 October 2011
Amber Lake is a great movie that will pull you in and keep you wondering what really happened until the very end. I don't want to tell much of the story as you really need to experience it yourself. Once you are done watching the movie, you will still be thinking about it. The three Ambers characters are extremely well portrayed and even though they are 'damaged' people, you will grow more sympathetic toward them as the movie goes on. As each Amber tells her side of the story, the other Ambers' characters appear different; sometimes very different and sometime just subtly. Mekenna Melvin's character had a wide range of emotion from being angry to being caring. Polly Cole's character was shown as homely and broken spirited but wanting to change but just can't. Natalie Smyka's character had a secret inner anger covered up by excessive perkiness (especially in an early scene ;-) ). Timothy V Murphy's Sergeant Stockard character was the investigative police office and very professional although he was a bit distracted by the Amber Allen character. Carmen Argenziano played the stoic, deliberative, A-hole father for whom you feel less sympathetic as the film progressed. All of the folks who worked on this film, in front or behind the camera, did a wonderful job telling this intriguing story. As I said you will think about this movie long after you have watched it.
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