Clear Lake, WI
- 1h 32m
A group of childhood friends return to their former hometown to revisit the horrors that happened there 15 years ago.A group of childhood friends return to their former hometown to revisit the horrors that happened there 15 years ago.A group of childhood friends return to their former hometown to revisit the horrors that happened there 15 years ago.
Fifteen years after Clear Lake, WI was evacuated and quarantined by the government, four young adults return to the small town in search of clues about their mysterious past. Back in 1994, a mysterious virus appeared in Clear Lake. As panic spread, a local priest (Michael Madsen) convinced a small group of high school students that the locals were being punished by God, and that the day of retribution had finally arrived. It was their job, claimed the priest, to apprehend the worst sinners, and ensure that they suffered for their transgressions. When government health officials arrived to investigate, they were shocked to discover that 13 of the locals had vanished without a trace, and the majority of the townspeople had abandoned their homes for fear of getting infected. For the following 15 years, the town sat eerily still and completely unoccupied. Now, a group of documentary filmmakers have convinced the kids who previously took part in the kidnappings to return to Clear Lake, and shed some light on the unsolved mystery. But the deeper the filmmakers and their subjects dig for answers about Clear Lake's mysterious past, the more they risk being buried alive in the process. —Brian Ide
Where's Wisconsin's Ed Gein when you need him?
I'm not an American resident and have only visited twenty or so states, but I've heard and read numerous times already – whether in jokes or more serious conversations – that Wisconsin is the most boring of all the United States of America. As I said, I can't really judge, but purely based on my viewing experience of "Clear Lake, WI" I'm tempted to believe the statement. The state of Wisconsin perhaps can't be held accountable for this dull and derivative movie, but the reference in the title definitely doesn't help their reputation. And yet, this movie displays a lot of potential in its basic premise and during the atmospheric opening sequences. I have a personal fascination for stories handling about ghost towns and religious small town cults, so I was immediately sold to "Clear Lake, WI". The plot centers on a young and ambitious girl student who reunites five former acolytes of the convicted reverend and self-acclaimed messiah of their hometown Clear Lake. Fifteen years ago, during the outbreak of a bizarre virus, the reverend proclaimed that the people of Clear Lake were being punished by God and encouraged his young disciples to help the Lord with this process. The return to Clear Lake doesn't only brings back old intrigues and affairs, but also oppressed nightmares and a killer. The first full hour of the film goes by intolerably slow and practically nothing happens except for dire dialogs between characters you don't feel the least bit connected to. Biggest disappointment of all is the setting. The filming locations definitely don't raise the impression that they have been abandoned for fifteen years! The school building looks impeccably clean and the tiny paths through the woods are still easily accessible instead of bewildered. The whole thing becomes slightly – just slightly, mind you – more interesting when the killer strikes. There's a bit of tension and excitement during the third act, but the denouement is predictable and actually very logical. The DVD cover proudly pimps Michael Madsen's name, but naturally he only briefly appears during a couple of flashbacks. Not recommended.
- Jan 16, 2011
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