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Home > The Darker the Lake (2022): A Review

The Darker the Lake (2022): A Review

The Darker the Lake

What's a Game Amongst Friends?

The Darker the Lake (2022) is a horror, thriller, murder-mystery directed and written by Lok Kwan Woo. The driving premise of the film is a game and the havoc it releases.

Wicked Games

Several horror selections in the past have centered around killer games, some in which the players are willing participants, others in which they are not. Many have proved exciting watches, while others are a little more questionable. The Darker the Lake struggles to find its place among the mix of films such as Choose or Die (2022), Light as a Feather (2018), Escape Room (2019), and Ouija (2014).

Less Than Friends

Like most of these dark and wretched games, it always seems to be a group of friends by pretense who settle down to play. So one obvious question always presents itself: What’s a game among friends? Well, that question could have many responses but the primary assumption would assume that the players were friends in the first place.

Crazy Games People Play

In The Darker the Lake, a group of somewhat friends also sit down to play a game. The game initially seems to be of unknown origins however, there is a rule book that the players loosely read and despite the ominous outcomes attached, they decide to play anyway. The name of the game is Pain Killer. With a name such as that, what could go wrong? Well, as most horror fans know, everything.

Let the Games Begin

The film starts at what appears to be the center of a murder investigation with one sole survivor held under scrutiny. Lea Fischer (Gina Stiebitz) is the 18-year-old girl at the center who shoulders the blame. Then fast-forward to the future, Fischer (Veronica Ferres) is a lot older and has a daughter of her own. Her daughter (Elyse Levesque) is a detective. Early on, one thing is clear: A supernatural force at work shares a link with the old Fischer. While odd, this revelation is not unexpected because the context clues are substantial. 

The Darker the Lake

A Quarter In

A quarter of the way into The Darker the Lake, director Lok Kwan Woo gives viewers more insight into the game. The game’s purpose is ominous indeed, and it begs the question of why anyone would voluntarily play it. However, when teenagers and wicked games intermingle, there is never a proper rationale. You can best believe there will always be hell for the majority to pay. And like all games of such nature, the game always seems to take on a life of its own.

Past to Present

While the story finds its roots in the past, its central point is very much in the present. The town is once again rocked by unusual murders setting off a new investigation that points back to the past. A new detective assigned to partner with Lea’s daughter, Lukas (Vladimir Burkalov) digs up old evidence that he believes is the key. And an astute observer he is. 


Once the viewers have made it halfway through the film, they are hit with more information. This is not unexpected, as all stories unfold as they progress. That information is, of course, that Lea knows more than she lets on, which also isn’t surprising given the film’s trajectory. Things get rather twisty from the point of this revelation until the end. After that, the story gets a lot more complicated, almost too much so. Sadly, it meanders endlessly. By the time the viewer makes it to the end, if he or she does, they are drained.

Too Far Gone

The movie is slow-moving, but it is not quite a slow burn. The Darker the Lake is more like a slow simmer. Although the story centers around a dark mystery, the viewer can’t simply unravel it to reach a clear revelation. The audience may not understand anything by the end of the movie the first time around. This movie will probably take several watches and, if a viewer has the time, it may grow on them. 

This is undoubtedly for the filmgoer who loves complex puzzles that become more complicated as time passes. However, for others who like a good mystery but are not fond of spending time working through knots, The Darker the Lake is not for you.

The Darker the Lake

The Darker the Lake (2022) Official Trailer

Source: Dead Talk Live

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