When Tricia finds out that her uncle has gone missing while ghost hunting in Death Valley, she takes her boyfriend on a road trip to try and locate him. When they find him, in a small deserted town, they discover that not only are ghosts real, but more dangerous than they could ever have imagined.
Sadly for lake fans, Lost Lake is the name of a deserted town in which Uncle Vern has disappeared whilst 'ghost hunting' and not a real lake at all. Uncle Vern is played by Ezra Buzzington, a wonderfully named actor known for The Hills Have Eyes. Uncle Vern is an eccentric - we realise this when we first meet him, his scatty, fevered idiosyncracies barely disguising a deeply disturbed nature.
He seems to be under the spell of a local witch, who herself seems to be a kind of medium for local, unnamed spirits. When his daughter and her fiance come looking for him, it's not long before things turn nasty.
What this film has going for it are the performances. For once, the young (teenage?) couple seem real, not overtly glamourous and most importantly, likeable. This is essential, because it is their plight that is the sole plot here.
I always babble on about how low-budget films seem to make great use of their location - crisp, sunlit woodlands in The Wrong House; misty, damp isolation in The Hunters, for example. Here, the Mojave Desert is used as a thankless location. Thankless for the poor characters, that is, but a visual treat for the viewer. In the desert, truly no-one can hear you scream ...
Although the runaround that fills the running time here is not without cliches - couple have an aversion to spotting the blatantly obvious/are beaten and bloody one minute and are full of energy the next - Lost Lake is enjoyable. It's not going to change the world, and the twists are handled without spectacle, but the performances raise it above the mediocre.