I actually watched this on Hulu the week before Halloween but forgot to hit publish. Oops.
The reason I watched Lantern’s Lane is because my friends and I used to do something just like this all throughout high school and college. You know, when you’re bored at night with your pals, the only thing to do is go out and explore haunted locations in the woods and pray you don’t die. I see a lot of myself and previous friends in these characters, so at first, I was thoroughly enjoying Lantern’s Lane because it made me feel something. And then it turned into a below-the-bar slasher flick that lacked any semblance of atmosphere.
Written, directed and produced by Justin LaReau, Lantern’s Lane proves the point that I always offer when reviewing a title like this – atmosphere is everything. Even the slightest misstep in building that palpable feeling of dread you’re trying to develop will completely sideline your movie. There’s a fine line between a scary movie and a film that’s TRYING to be a scary movie. In this case, the beyond cheesy backing scores and the fact that the murder/haunted house just looked like a home currently being renovated took me right out of the world Justin LaReau wanted.
Lantern’s Lane features cinematography by Tate McCurdy and editing by Ziyun Chen. Brooke Butler, Ashley Doris, Sydney Carvill, Andy Cohen and Robbie Allen star.
While it’s true that this title has crystal clear picture, great audio, average performances and spends a lot of time expanding on damaged friendships, it unfortunately falls victim to traditional horror film pitfalls. It’s filled to the brim with stereotypical horror troupes, the killer’s motive is predictable from the first 15 minutes, and no one dies until the 50-minute mark – and it happens off camera! Sometimes it reads like a dark drama with a few horror elements added in. It wasn’t a film that made me feel the Halloween spirit… like at all.
Lantern’s Lane had a lot of potential but ultimately fell flat. Final Score: 4 out of 10.