The Land of Blue Lakes is purportedly a found footage horror movie from Russia. I say purported because of the “movie” looks real, and I have seen little proof that this didn’t actually happen. Director Arturs Latkovskis’s camera footage from the now missing five campers was found uploaded to the “deep web.”
Shot for social media, the footage documents a trip to Latvia to go kayaking in Latgale, an area known as the Land of Blue Lakes, which has about 1200 lakes to back that name up. Arturs (Arturs Latkovskis) with his girlfriend Veronika (Veronika Rumjananceva) and their pals Alina (Alina Sedova), Vladislavs (Vladislavs Filipovs), and Edgars (Edgars Jurgelans) are drinking, kayaking, drinking, camping, and then drink some more. They explore the forested areas of the tiny islands on the lakes. These woods are near ancient sacrificial ritual sites to the old gods from the days of pagan rule.
“These woods are near ancient sacrificial ritual sites to the old gods…”
The big question is, will the finale of The Land of Blue Lakes be scary enough to transform this from vacation footage to a horror movie? The answer is yes. The payoff is wickedly horrifying and quite sickening. The last several minutes would send The Blair Witch running screaming for its mother. However, as great as the ending is, there should have been more horror occurrences along the way to help build up to this, as the beginning of this found footage feature promises camper disappearances, and that is what carries the viewer through the narrative.
However, what a nature movie this is! The foliage shots are gorgeous, with natural textures in the visual composition adding dimension and beauty. The scenery is so magnificent that I started off the movie an old grizzled punk and finished it as a tree licking hippie. Also, the vacation sections help uphold the found footage illusion of reality, as these scenes play realistically. In fact, I am still not convinced that this whole thing wasn’t real, as I do not see any other credits for those involved.
This is in Russian with subtitles, which is a real treat for those of us in Horrorland. We are so used to dubbing that subtitles are both rare and welcome. It reminded me back in Austin when we would screen the then-new DVDs of Friday the 13th in French with subtitles. Please do this if you haven’t, as it changes the whole impact from dumb low budget to reflexive pastoral. The subtitle experience enhances the viewing experience, as the language barrier increases the naturalism of the acting and the realism of the horror. Hang in until the blood-curdling climax, folks. A visit to The Land of Blue Lakes is worth your while.
"…the payoff is wickedly horrifying and quite sickening."