I like a lot of films I watch for this book. I dislike even more of them. But rarely do any of them take me by surprise.
Since my husband was away during the week, I wanted to try watching a film on either Amazon or Netflix since I had full control over what was on tv. And let’s be real, there’s a reason Shudder is so great. It has a good selection of horror films where both Netflix and Amazon both sorely lack. But I’m really, really glad I gave Amazon a change this week.
I had to sort through a lot of shit, but at least I found Lost Creek.
To get it out of the way, Lost Creek is by no means an out-and-out horror film. Rather, it’s a coming-of-age story about a young boy hidden behind a Halloween mask.
Peter is a young boy who has moved to a new town with his mother, who has recently divorced Peter’s father. While settling in, Peter focuses mostly the arrival Halloween with the help of his friend Bill – a boy he knew before the move.
There’s a spot in the woods near a creek that Peter likes to consider “his.” That is until he meets the young Maggie, who tells him that the creek is indeed her place. The two children immediately hit it off, though, agreeing to share the magical location with each other.
That night, Peter has a nightmare and begins sleepwalking again. In his dream, he sees a section of the forest filled with Blair Witch-style stick figures hanging from the trees. He hears his father’s voice calling to him, and he leaves his room only to be caught by his mom.
Peter tries telling his best friend Bill about the nightmares the next day at school, but Bill is hardly interested. Though they both perk up when their substitute teacher informs them that their teacher will not be in class that day, and he has no idea when they’ll be returning. The substitute, who wants to know some “fun facts” about the town, asks his students to share information about the town with him.
One student shares the story about someone dying in the woods nearly twenty years prior. The sub somehow thinks this is a cool story. Also the woods are haunted.
When Peter goes to meet Maggie in the woods again, she tells him that she can’t cross the woods. She also says that there isn’t a ghost in the woods, but rather a monster.
A bit shaken on his way home, Peter notices that his neighbours have disappeared. Their dinner is set on their table, but not a soul is in sight. Peter’s mom brushes the boy’s fears off, and his protests falling onto deaf ears.
Again Peter has nightmares at night. Each night brings more terrifying images. A figure in a Babadook-esque mask appears in the window, scaring the shit out of both me and Peter.
But the next time the boy sleepwalks, he’s pulled out of his dream by Maggie. He awakes in the forest by the creek, right before he is grabbed by a pair of arms in his dream.
Unbeknownst to Peter, Bill is having a much worse night. After being picked on for his fear of toys coming to life, Bill’s toys actually come to life. He runs from his house and finds Peter with Maggie.
The three children make a plan to meet on Halloween to stop the monster. Unfortunately for Bill, he has to miss trick-or-treating and the monster is after him for being asked to help Peter.
Before Peter leaves to complete the plan on Halloween, he urges his mom to not answer the door and to stay inside. But even before he leaves his house, he finds that his mother too has disappeared.
Peter, Bill and Maggie set off together on a night that is filled with the literal fears, tears and sacrifies. Honestly, I don’t want to give too much away (even though I have a serious amount of notes here) because I really think this film is worth watching. But it’s so sweet in a Strange Things sort of way (the friendship, I mean, not the Demogorgon) – in the same vein as those classic 80’s stories building essentially on growing up and friends.
I won’t pretend like Lost Creek is perfect. It’s IMDB score is pretty much spot on. The acting is really not good, and some of the editing is a bit ropey. Also, the masks used by the monster and his posse verge on the eye-rolling aspects of contemporary horror aesthetics. A much more classic look would have been better and more timeless.
But that’s ok. It really is because the characters are so likable and those kids are so damn cute. It certainly isn’t going to be a horror film the scares you, but that (ironically) might not always need to be the most important thing in story-telling for this genre. Give Lost Creek a shot and hopefully you’ll be as charmed as I was.