Review by EJ Argenio, NRFTW Contributor and Correspondent
The depths of the unknown, murder, vengeance and some light-hearted mayhem give birth to the sci-fi indie comedy Lake Michigan Monster.
Following the unexpected death of his “associate”, the whimsically mischievous Seafield, played by writer-director Ryland Brickson Cole Tews, assembles a team of “tactical experts” with the intent of getting vengeance on the perpetrator … an unknown creature located beneath the waters of Lake Michigan off the coast of Milwaukee. Seafield’s team is comprised of sonar operator Nedge Pepsi (Beulah Peters), weapons expert Sean Shaughnessy (Erick West) and formal Naval Officer Dick Flynn (Daniel Long) who embark on a series of punny-named operations (i.e. Nauty Lady), with the intent of killing the beast. However, the unit finds out that some things are easier said than done and with each attempt they not only learn something about their aquatic nemesis, but also themselves.
It becomes obvious that Tews was inspired by the classic science-fiction film The Creature From The Black Lagoon & the fantasy of Jules Verne’s 20,000 Leagues Under The Sea. While entirely shown in black and white, the film also has the grainy disposition of 1950s movie-making. However, the inspiration Tews drew from did not stop with the screenplay. It becomes clear that his directorial style was influenced by similar films such as Wes Anderson’s The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou and Terry Gilliam’s The Adventures of Baron Munchausen.
However, Lake Michigan Monster differs with it’s parody style of writing that often makes it seem as though you are watching a classic episode of Gilligan’s Island or even the 1994 film Cabin Boy. While serious at heart, there is comical chaos within each scene that isn’t off-putting. Everything fits where it should.
When you combine different genres (science-fiction, fantasy, action and comedy) films can become lost. This film, however, is able to stay the course because of the editing by Mike Cheslik. While absurd, Lake Michigan Monster is never dull. Cheslik also provided the visual effects for the film with special effects by Joe Castro. Both were executed in a manner that gave the film it’s own identity while staying true to their inspired predecessors.
If you are a fan of traditional sci-fi fantasy combined with some cheap laughs, then you should surely dive into the indie film Lake Michigan Monster.
Lake Michigan Monster is due to be released later this year. Follow us here for more updates.