Director Bruce Wemple thrilled me with a Wendigo flick with a queer slant (The Retreat), and intrigued me with a lesbian thriller with a Bigfoot slant (Monstrous). So of course I was going to check out two more of his films when they showed up on my streaming services.
DAWN OF THE BEAST (2021)
I purchased Dawn of the Beast on DVD before I was even done streaming it because damn, Wemple sure knows how to make zany horror movies that blend subgenres. This fricking flick has Wendigos, Bigfoot, and a crawling demon girl!
The bizarre mashup aside, Wemple is just so good at creating suspenseful, atmospheric scenes and delivers fantastic creatures without the use of CGI.
So in this film, a group of students and their professor go to a cabin in the woods to search for Bigfoot. Sure there’s some minor drama between the characters, but it isn’t long before we are immersed in nonstop monster action.
Between Wendigos outside, Bigfoot stomping around the woods, and a possessed girl crawling around the cabin, it’s total horror chaos and I’m living for it.
The film totally ramps up into new territory in the final act when the final boy strips down to his underwear to deal with everything being thrown at him.
I was getting some serious Evil Dead vibes by the end. This is just pure fun and so my kind of horror flick.
LAKE ARTIFACT (2019)
Several familiar faces from other Wemple films appear in this one, which is a good thing, because these guys and girls sure give good horror.
Lake Artifact differs from all his others in that there isn’t a killer creature in sight. Instead, we get a more complex plot that for me personally didn’t quite iron out its own details enough. For instance, there are “interview” segments about a cult that just distracted me, but the film still delivered a pretty wild ride.
Our friends heading to a cabin in the woods this time around get help from a drifter when their car breaks down. So, they invite him to hang out at their cabin. But, some of them find him a bit shady and suspect…
A few odd occurrences complicate matters, like a photo appearing of all of them that no one took, and some old dude lurking in the bushes outside.
When he doesn’t tell you he’s a virgin.
There really are some interesting aspects here as the group discovers they are stuck in some sort of time loop.
I was particularly intrigued by the drifter being picked up by two guys that seemed kind of gay for him, but just like several crucial plot points presented, it’s whipped up in a sudden whirlwind of events that didn’t feel fully developed and also made the main story arc a bit convoluted. But it is rather delightful when everyone starts turning on…themselves…