Most people know what they’re getting when they check out a movie by the Asylum, so it’s fair to say that 2014’s Blood Lake: Attack of the Killer Lampreys more or less meets expectations. It is outlandish, stupid and full of lampreys. That is a spectacular statement in and of itself.
It doesn’t matter, but Blood Lake is helmed by James Cullen Bressack from a screenplay by Anna Rasmussen and Delondra Williams. The cinematography is by Finders Keepers director Alexander Yellen, while the eight-bit musical score is by Steven R. Bernstein.
Jason Brooks stars as Michael. He works for the Fish and Wildlife Service and he’s been assigned to a small town. He discovers they have a lamprey problem, but Mayor Akerman (Christopher Lloyd) is opposed to shutting down the lake or the water supply or doing anything that could impede tourism.
Michael works to save his family, but his wife Cate (Shannen Doherty) and daughter Nicole (Ciara Hanna) think dad’s just being uptight. To make matters worse, his son Kyle (Koosha Yar) has a lamprey as a pet. When the lampreys get into the water supply and swim into people’s homes, all hell breaks loose.
For the record, lampreys are jawless fish with toothy mouths. They bore into the flesh of other fish and suck blood. Some people think they look like eels. In Blood Lake, the lampreys are no ordinary lampreys and therefore feed on the blood of humans. They come swimming through the pipes and flop around on land and crawl up things.
They also leap onto faces and body parts. One of them predictably tunnels up a certain orifice, while others float around inside a person only to appear Alien-style. Sometimes they seem harmless. Sometimes they gnaw away and do serious damage.
Killing the lampreys is a matter of electrocution or stabbing or whatever. Nicole takes a weed-whacker to a few hundred in one of the most inspired scenes, while Michael concocts a more comprehensive plan. Cate uses a curling iron and yields rather positive results.
Along with the lampreys, there are mild interpersonal entanglements. Not much is known about Cate and Michael’s relationship, but Ellen (Susie Abromeit) seems to have the hots for the guy and likes to adjust her bikini. She also likes the pool boy (Nicholas Adam Clark). Nicole likes the pool boy, too.
There’s a lot of blood in Blood Lake, maybe even a whole lake of it. And the dialogue is full of expository stuff that tells you what a person is going to do before he does it. “I can go down the ladder, kill some lampreys, harvest the livers, and come out quick,” says Will (Zack Ward). And he does it, right after the pool boy comes around the corner with the weed-whacker. You have to respect that.
You also have to respect how Blood Lake: Attack of the Killer Lampreys plays straight for a critical niche. There aren’t many movies that take lamprey lovers seriously and it’s nice to see the Asylum consider the needs of Cyclostomata aficionados. And good news: the door is wide open for a sequel.