Lake Michigan Monster follows the adventures of Captain Seafield (Ryland Brickson Cole Tews) as he gathers together a group of unlikely misfits to help him to track down and kill the mysterious sea monster that killed his father on the shore of Lake Michigan.
From the title I was expecting something a little cheesy, something that didn’t take itself too seriously, but Lake Michigan Monster doesn’t actually seem to take anything seriously, and suffers because of this. The plot, what little there is, follows a strange ‘sea captain’ Seafield, played by the film’s writer and director, as he seeks revenge against a monster that murdered his father.
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This happened only six feet from the shore of Lake Michigan, and no one will believe that a monster was involved. As such, he hires three ‘experts’ to help him. There’s his weapons expert Sean Shaughnessy (Eric West), who is only ever referred to by their full name; sonar specialist Nedge Pepsi (Beulah Peters); and former N.A.V.Y. officer Dick Flynn (Daniel Long); and that’s not the Navy, that’s the Nautical Athletes and adVenture Yunit. This brief break down of the main characters should show the level of humour this film is steeped in.
The scenes barely have any content to them, and instead fill the run time with jokes that barely count as jokes, instead relying on people saying or doing the stupidest things in hopes that it will get a laugh. When asked how big the monster is Seafield pulls out a toy lion, then a toy tiger, then throws away the tiger and confirms its as big as a lion – and I guess this is supposed to be funny? These poor and unfunny jokes get used more than once, with the apparent act of referring to their own jokes meant to cash in on the laughs that just weren’t there to begin with.
Bad jokes would have been one thing, but when the plot and characters are so thin on the ground, seem to make no sense at all, and rely on this wacky humour to drive things forward, the film quickly overstays its welcome. After about the first fifteen minutes I was left not only bored, but regularly checking the time hoping that we were near the end.
If I was watching the film for entertainment purposes I would have turned it off, and as such I’m not really sure that I could recommend it to anyone. I’m sure there are some people out there who will enjoy this level of comedy, who think fart jokes are the peak of humour (and I don’t mean jokes where people pass wind, but someone randomly saying the word ‘fart’ to get a laugh), but this is probably going to be quite a niche audience.
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The Blu-ray comes with a number of special features, including three commentaries, one of which where those talking are apparently drunk, in case slogging through the film once isn’t enough torture for you. There’s also a trio of interviews from a few different film festivals where Lake Michigan Monster was shown, as well as the entire first season of Ryland Brickson Cole Tews’ web series L.I.P.S., which despite only being about twenty minutes long I switched off after three and a half because it was even less fun to watch than the main film.
I’m sure that there will be people who would love this film, but if you’ve never experienced Ryland Brickson Cole Tews’ comedy before, and aren’t already a fan of his I wouldn’t recommend giving this film a go, as you could be left extremely disappointed, especially when Arrow Video have so many other, better movies on offer than this one.
Lake Michigan Monster is out now on Blu-ray from Arrow Video.