Monday, November 11, 2013

Clear Lake, WI (2009)

Fifteen years after the small town of Clear Lake, WI was rocked by an unexplained deadly illness, a self appointed Reverend who brainwashed teens into participating in the kidnapping and murders of sinners, and a government evacuation based on toxic contaminants in the town, reporter Kyra has the bright idea to round up the surviving teens (now adults) and bring them back to the long abandoned town so she can do a documentary on what really happened. Yes, because it's always good to bring people back to the scene of their trauma, even after they repeatedly tell you they don't want to go.

Kyra, who is determined to get to the truth but lacks any people skills or critical thinking ability, tells everyone to trust her because she wants what is best for them and thinks the trip will help them. This prompts the justifiably suspicious question, "what do you think we need help with?"  Oh Kyra, you amateur.... how could anything possibly go wrong?

Kyra shows her bias and lack of cranial processing when she states her belief that the teens who helped the Reverend are victims who can't be held responsible since the Reverend asked them to commit the crimes.  Yes, sounds like Kyra's really looking for the truth, especially when her best friend is the wife of Sam, who was one of the Reverends teen followers.

When subject Michael, who at first refuses to go on the trip, tells her, "This isn't a game. People died.  People's lives were changed!" arrogant Kyra haughtily replies, "Don't patronize me.  I've read the court transcripts and even seen pictures of the bodies, which you probably haven't.  So... I get how serious a subject this is." Oh yes, of course you do. Because if there's one thing that everyone knows, it's that reading about ritualistic serial murders in the safety of your local library provides a person with so much more insight than being a participant in the actual horrific events.

To make sure she gets the whole story, Kyra hides a recorder under the back seat of the van so she can catch all the groups conversations. So you can see how she's totally trustworthy and just wants to help. Kyra may want to consider that it's not a great idea to repeatedly pressure people who were part of a religious cult to go to the location of the murders and recall the events.

When the group asks what they should do while she's interviewing each individual, she casually responds that they can do whatever they want, or whatever they need to do because she's trying to help them.  This doesn't go over well and I suspect her documentary isn't going to fare much better.

I'm not sure why everyone agreed to be interviewed. Other than her friendship with Sam,  she doesn't know any of them.  She's a stranger asking them to open up about a horrific tragedy they were involved in, and they were on the wrong side of it. Plus she tries to be hard hitting and edgy, but is just annoying and irritating.

Not surprisingly Kyra proves to be the worst documentary maker ever and misses out on deeply personal conversations and revelations. When Michael remarks that if everyone had listened to him fifteen years ago things would have been different, Reed asks what he means by that.  Instead of laying back and listening to the revelations unfold, Kyra cuts them off and tells them they need to get back on track because they have a schedule to keep. Argh!  This was some big time, long buried stuff coming to light and she's more concerned with her preplanned, pseudo hard hitting, lame ass questions.

Also of note, for a fifteen years abandoned town, it is spectacularly clean. The floors are shined and there is no dust on anything.  And this movie has the worst cat scare I've ever seen.  Two people stand outside talking when a cat suddenly falls from above and hits the front of their jacket. Huh? Are they even near a tree? Did someone just throw a cat at them?  It precedes nothing and is totally pointless.

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