Lake of the Dead (1958) Poster

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A Seriously creepy little film...with gobs of atmosphere
nomoons1128 October 2011
This is a fine effort in the horror/thriller genre. Coming out in 1958 and from Norway you wouldn't think so me.

First off, the acting in the first say...15 minutes or pretty lame. I guess it's due to the "un-hollywood" like skills of the actors but after it dissipates, the rest of the story/film is a mystery until the end.

Basic premise is that 6 friends go to a cabin at a remote lake to meet up with one of their brothers to relax and have a good time. Turns out the lake they go to has a bad history and the rest of the film we learn about it's secrets. We also learn about most of the friends who show up while they sit a debate where the missing brother has gone or if he's dead or not. It's mostly a talky all the way until the end but it really does grab your attention. You may think of a Friday the 13th feel to this but what you won't get is blood and gore. What you do get is an intricate story that hold you to the couch right until the end.

This one is considered one of the top 5 Norwegian films made..and I can see why. If you give this one a chance you'll see why also.
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De dødes tjern (1958)
SnakesOnAnAfricanPlain13 December 2011
This wonderfully shot (and short), powerful film is a lost horror gem. The film focuses on a group of friends that travel to the woods. It all goes a bit terrifying as a brother is missing, people start sleepwalking, and the truth mixes with superstition. The film is quite dialog heavy in explaining itself, as we have a hypnotist that refuses to believe in ghosts. The scenes build up with a kind of quiet charm, and never fully reveal themselves, allowing our thoughts to intertwine with how the characters see it. The audience is really included in this film, with a lot of moments seeming as though the characters are trying to persuade us onto their side.
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Pay attention Hollywood; it's a lesson in atmosphere!
Coventry30 June 2010
I stumbled upon "Lake of the Dead" rather accidentally, in the DVD collection of a friend of mine who's a devoted cinephile, but in spite of the sober cover illustration and laconic plot description, it looked intriguing enough to check it out. "Lake of the Dead" is a Norwegian thriller from the 1950's, and this superficial little production detail alone was quite fascinating enough for me. Norwegian horror is uprising nowadays (with instant classics like "Cold Prey", "Dead Snow" and "Next Door" to prove it) but, I suppose like the case with most people, my knowledge of Norwegian horror movies that are fifty years or older was rather non-existent. Even in case of a worldwide DVD distribution, I sincerely doubt this film will ever become an acclaimed genre classic, but still it deserves the recognition and respect of a much larger audience.

A group of matured and intellectual friends, including writers and psychiatrists, head out to the remote backwoods for a careless holiday full of hiking and spending time together. Upon their arrival, however, the group is confronted with the ancient folklore legend of Tore Gravik. Many years ago in these woods, this mentally unstable man killed his own sister (with whom he was in love) and her lover, before vanishing into the woods never to be heard about again. Soon enough, the group witnesses strange occurrences and sense an invisible presence. Prominent intellectuals like them naturally don't believe in urban legends. Or do they? The essence of this movie's powerful and everlasting impact lies within … surprise, surprise … its simplicity! "Lake of the Dead" tells a very rudimentary story and features ordinary and identifiable people as the main characters. These people show naturally common signs of fear and hypocrisy and they do what any normal person would do in perilous condition. Another brilliant quality is the use of the breathtaking sets and locations. Director Kare Bergstrom introduces the cabin in the woods and the nearby lake like additional and vital characters in the story and they demand more than a fair share of your attention. The tone of the film is continuously ominous and the overall atmosphere is creepy & unsettling beyond description. I've rarely witnessed a movie that grabbed my attention as profoundly as "Lake of the Dead". The conclusion of the film is psychologically astounding, although probably too talkative and/or convoluted for the modern film audiences that swear by nonsensical stuff like "Twilight" and "Van Helsing". But what the hell, they are not likely to ever track down a copy of this obscure treasure, anyway.
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Don't be scared away from seeing this film!
halfan4 July 2006
Don't let the previous poster scare (no pun intended) you away from seeing this film. It has a very good cast made up of seasoned Norwegian actors (including the writer himself, Andre Bjerke), and the plot is very good acted out. Now, it would be really unfair to compare Norwegian films made in the 1950's with their Hollywood counterparts then and now - they were made on very tight budgets and usually played for a limited audience. However, this film (made in creepy black and white) has some outstanding scenes that made me (at least) really very uneasy. It's really a very good attempt to make an exiting movie out of a brilliant psychological thriller novel. I think it still - even by today's standard - has a very high entertainment value, just as it had about 50 years ago. No CGI effects here - just good, solid acting!
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Probably the best Norwegian movie ever.
MartinSa25 May 1999
For younger generations of Norwegian film enthusiasts, Andre Bjerkes "De dødes tjern" is held to be one of the best Norwegian films ever to be made. This film-noir is a "must see" for everybody with a liking for classic cinema!

My vote: 10 out of 10
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It scared me to death.
Kinetic22 February 2002
This is the only movie that have scared me so much that I had to stop watching. Not many will find a norwegian black&white movie to be interesting, but this movie makes all those sucky american horror movies look just like sucky american horror movies. Enough said.
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Mysterious and eerie Norwegian horror.
HumanoidOfFlesh27 June 2009
"Lake of the Dead" is the story of a six young friends who travel from Oslo to Østerdalen in order to spend a few relaxing days in a cabin deep in the woods.Once they arrive,the brother(who had gone to the cabin some time before)of one of the women appears to have disappeared.A local legend claims that a one-legged man who died 100 years ago still roams the woods and hypnotizes people to drown themselves in a small lake.He murdered his sister and her lover,then drowned himself in the dark waters.Despite its age "Lake of the Dead" still managed to creep me out.The mystery of the lake is interesting and the climax is truly creepy.There is an eerie legend,a one-legged crow and the lake itself that easily could have been a murderer.The film has some striking similarities to Sam Raimi's "The Evil Dead",but I strongly doubt that Raimi has seen it.It's a crying shame that "Lake of the Dead" is so unknown and still unreleased on DVD.9 out of 10.
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Dødes tjern,de
lyn-kr29 August 2006
Dødes tjern,de is considered to be a Norwegian classic. It tells the story of a group of young people staying in an isolated cabin situated in a forest. I have seen this film more than once as it is a regular on Norwegian TV. Its fun in a way to watch Norwegian movies. Not too may are made and the ones that are, are usually very bad. This one is an exception. The story in itself is quite good, but as usual, to anyone not Norwegian it is an amateur attempt at film making. Norwegians do not have film actors, only theater actors, something that is obvious when watching the film. The actors overact, the camera lingers much too long on certain shots and the dialog is spoken in a way no Norwegian would speak. In spite of this criticism one cannot help but be intrigued by its ghostly story. Each time I have watched it I am in turn embarrassed that we cannot make a better film from a good manuscript, and the enjoyment I get from laughing at the exaggerated character acting. Perhaps my criticisms will not be so obvious to a non Norwegian as they'll be to busy reading the subtitles to notice the aforementioned faults. I make no excuses for it being made in 1958. Casablanca was made long before and it is as watchable today as it was when it was made.I'd love to see this film remade today by an American studio. It could be a box office success.
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Most disappointed
Atreyu_II5 November 2011
After reading marvels about this one, considered a norwegian classic by some, I expected great things, but I think my expectations were over the top.

First off, my lack of knowledge on norwegian cinema is... complete. This was nominated the 4th best norwegian film of all time. I can't make any judgments on that. I'm very far from knowing enough movies from Norway to say anything at all, although I do believe it "may" be one of the best from that country. But it's certainly far from being one of the best movies ever.

For a horror movie and from what I read, I expected a scary or at least a tense movie with some atmosphere. I'm sorry, but the truth is that this movie hardly has any suspense at all, let alone scariness and real terror/horror. It lacks real atmosphere, being mostly about a group of adult people spending time with each other in an isolated but beautiful place where they experiment a few but brief tense moments. There is some gorgeous norwegian cinematography - the forests and the big lake which look stunning even in black and white.
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