They have done a disservice to ‘The Nest (Il nido)’, notably changing the title for these payments. Without a doubt, the chosen name, ‘The Curse of Lake Manor’, aims to jump on the bandwagon of the recent success of Netflix series such as ‘The Curse of Hill House’ or ‘The Curse of Bly Manor’, both directed by Mike Flanagan, a leading filmmaker of domesticated horror cinema, suitable for family audiences. What they read. Gruesome stories for people who do not usually like the genre, but peck at what comes out on the cover of video on demand platforms. Posh psychological terror, out of risk. The premiere that concerns us, of Italian nationality -a point in favor-, moves in other directions. Choose a well-achieved gothic atmosphere and displays a battery of suggestive ideas that, despite being mostly half-baked, deserve some attention. Aesthetic care, the story plays the distraction, seems to be what it is not, a laudable decision overshadowed by a hesitant tone that twists randomly as the work develops its postulates. Everything revolves, enigmatically, around a paralyzed child, after suffering a car accident, who lives in a bubble created by his mother in a large isolated house in a deep forest. As in the brilliant ‘Canino’, the characters are isolated, immersed in their own reality, while various sequences indicate that the little protagonist hides something. For something his mother has decided to safeguard him from external evil, or rather the other way around? Is there nothing out there behind the gate that seals the huge estate? Echoes of Damien, the demonic infant from ‘The Prophecy’, soon fade to open other doors that point to the supernatural aimlessly. Nothing is what it seems, until the final bombastic surprise.
‘The Curse of Lake Manor’ caters to a clear trend in today’s cinema, scriptwriting based on specific scenes, or of references to other films, generally well known in cinephile circles. The imagery of many filmmakers today depends on the medium itself, there is nothing else, a question that gives rise to the concept of ‘frankenstein movies’. Notes are taken from here and there and everything degenerates into a pastiche, a mosaic of influences that seek originality, but remain at half gas. Fans of the genre will enjoy discovering the nods to cult films, with sequences shot with taste, but the proposal aims to contemplate so many aspects – something common in a genre debut – that it ends up being blurred. Potential audiences who want to be scared out of hand will not find their expectations met.
It is appreciated, it should be emphasized, that Roberto de Feo, responsible for the direction and the germ of the story, try to offer something different from clichés that we already know, although not everything finally fits. The love story that arises between the pubescent protagonist and a teenager who bursts into the mansion as a new member of the service stands out. Their relationship will precipitate a conclusion worthy of Shyamalan, whose shadow is elongated. Francesca Cavallin (‘I babysitter’), Gabriele falsetta (‘Wife and husband’), Justin korovkin (‘The Book of Vision’) and Maurizio Lombardi (‘The New Pope’) make up the estimable main cast of a respectable film, despite its flaws, which already passed through the Sitges festival in 2019.