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Neverlake (2013)
  • Director:
    Riccardo Paoletti
  • Category:
  • Writer:
    Manuela Cacciamani,Carlo Longo
  • Cast:
    Daisy Keeping,David Brandon,Joy Tanner
  • Time:
    1h 26min
  • Year:
When Jenny, an American teenager visits her father's home in Italy she expected it to be a time to see the world and bond with her father. She soon discovers that this is far from reality. When Jenny visits the Neverlake, a lake that legend calls "The Lake of Idols" for its healing powers in ancient times, Jenny meets a peculiar group of children. As she digs further into the mystery of these missing children and their leader Peter, Jenny discovers a world of horrific medical experiments, secrets and lies. When Jenny is called upon by three thousand year old spirits of the Neverlake to help them retrieve ancient artifacts stolen from the lake she comes face to face with her greatest pain and possibly her greatest pleasure.
Credited cast:
Daisy Keeping Daisy Keeping - Jenny Brooks (as Daisy Ann Keeping)
David Brandon David Brandon - Mr. Brooks
Joy Tanner Joy Tanner - Olga (as Joy Allison Tanner)
Martin Kashirokov Martin Kashirokov - Peter
Rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Lisa Ruth Andreozzi Lisa Ruth Andreozzi - Aurora
Alice Belardi Alice Belardi - Policewoman
Riccardo Bono Riccardo Bono - Male Nurse
Claudio Ciabatti Claudio Ciabatti - Policeman
Anna Dalton Anna Dalton - Maya
Davide Frondaroli Davide Frondaroli - Policeman
Dianne Lynn Jones Dianne Lynn Jones - Jenny's Mother
Uberto Kovacevich Uberto Kovacevich - Sabelli
Elia Longo Elia Longo - Etruscan Child Sethre
Eva MacCallum Eva MacCallum - Malila
Pierangelo Menci Pierangelo Menci - Bus Guy

Neverlake (2013)

Director Riccardo Paoletti lost seven kilos during the shooting due too the difficulties of making ends meet with a really low budget.

The troupe Risked to get stuck on the mountains for a full day because they forgot to fill the jeep tank.

The actual Lake is really in Rieti.

The underwater scenes were shot in a swimming childbirth pool during a stormy day. All the murky effects were added in post production.

The Lake of Idols is a magic place near Arezzo.

Some scenes were supposed to be shot in sunlight but since the forecast was adverse the director choose to take advantage of the gloomy atmosphere and shot in the mist.

The film's subject lake, located near the Village of Stia (Tuscany) Italy, has some historical basis: "Located south of Mount Falterona, the small Lake of the Idols is the most interesting archaeological site in the Casentino. Very important artefacts from the cult of the Etruscans have been found here including many votive offerings, hence the site being called the "Lake of the Idols". Hundreds of bronzes have also been recovered, some of which are now preserved in the British Museum in London and the Louvre in Paris." - Source: italythisway.com.

A teenage girl who was born in Italy, but raised in America (none of which explains her crisp British accent) returns to Tuscany where her father, once a medical doctor, is now engaged in an archaeological project at an enchanted lake once worshiped by the ancient Etruscans. There she befriends a group of weird disabled children kept in a country asylum. Eventually a terrible family secret is revealed.

This is in some ways a ghost story like "The Devil's Backbone" or "The Orphanage", but it also hearkens back to the classic European "medical horror" films of the early 1960's like "Eyes without a Face" and "The Mill of the Stone Women". Like a lot of classic Euro-horror films this British-Italian co-production doesn't make a lot of logical sense but rather follows a kind of dream logic. The rational plot is often overwhelmed by powerful and striking visual images and kind of surreal mood reminiscent of Euro genre films of yore. This will no doubt annoy many of the terminal Americans out there unaccustomed to this kind of filmmaking (really though, Hollywood films aren't any more "realistic", people are just more used to their brand of unreality).

The movie does have its flaws. The Etruscan mysticism and the medical horror don't really gel together very well, and all the characters remain rather opaque. Its strengths though lie in its atmosphere, its arresting visuals (especially the underwater scenes in the lake) and its use of the beautiful Tuscany countryside and some haunting poetry from British Romantic poet Percy Blysse Shelley. Daisy Keeping who plays the protagonist is a strikingly beautiful young Brit actress who really complements the natural scenery and turns in a very decent performance (her unexplained British accent notwithstanding). This isn't a perfect movie, but I'd still definitely recommend it.
There are pretty straightforward pros and cons to this movie, and to me it seems to really be stretching things to call it "horrible" or "great storytelling.

The story itself - overall - wasn't that bad and, in fact, I enjoyed the ending. It was darker than I'd thought it would be, and definitely not entirely predictable. Ironically, that's also part of the problem. There wasn't really enough story development in the first 70 minutes of the film to lead you to predict much of anything, and by that time you're almost a little apathetic. Very little seems to be holding together what is presented during this stretch, and much of it isn't really that necessary.

A lot of the bad reviews I've read include phrases like "I couldn't make it half-way through" and "I turned it off with 20 minutes left." Because the story is so back-loaded into the conclusion of the movie, their reviews (to me) are rendered almost completely irrelevant. But because of the glacial pace I definitely understand where they're coming from.

Before I get the usual condescending "Most people (who aren't as smart as I am) who expect explosions and non-stop action/killing/slashing just won't 'get' this type of artistic storytelling (and are not worthy to cast eyes on the film like I am)," I beg to differ. I don't need nonstop action, especially in a horror/psychological thriller movie. But in lieu of action there needs to be story/character development to keep you engaged. And in this film that all came at the end, with only fairly disjointed bits and pieces for the first 70 minutes.

I give this a better-than-average rating because it IS better than most of the low-budget garbage out there. It is, indeed, watchable. But your life will not change. You'll think, "Hmmm. Didn't quite see THAT ending coming," then get back to your housework.
I believe it was Aristotle who claimed that in fiction the impossible works better than the improbable. In other words, a horror movie with Etruscan ghosts haunting a Tuscan lake? I'm along for the ride. A guy managing to keep many people in captivity for years, successfully performing complex surgical procedures on them and getting rid of the corpses, all without anyone ever noticing? And not somewhere in the Gobi desert, but in one of the most densely populated European countries, to boot? I'm not buying it. And I will mention neither his demented motivations nor a spoiler - his connection with the victims - which make the premise even more ridiculous.

Neverlake suffers from a case of overplotting. Either you go with the supernatural storyline or with the "medical experiments/abductions" cases: pick one and run with it. The two don't glue together well, and structure gets wonky; any horror movie where a medusa-like monster is there merely for a cameo, where a surgeon performs ludicrously difficult operations and follows them up with esoteric rituals, or where the protagonist first has to throw some relics in a lake to appease phantoms and then to recover other relics from the same lake to appease other phantoms... well, it should probably rethink its storytelling choices.

This film is just as effective as any of the really good high dollar films. I was very impressed with this movie - it's different than I was expecting and a lot better than I anticipated. If you liked the films The Others, The Conjuring, The Orphanage or The Woman in Black then you might like Neverlake! I was blown away by how good this film is.

I really can't talk much about the film or I will give it away. It's one of those films you will just have to watch for yourself. What I can say is it's a good ghost story (the souls of the lake), a girl with a very strange father and his housekeeper and it has one heck of a great twist so it's more than just a ghost story! That's all I will tell anyone so I won't ruin the movie for first time viewers.

This is one of those films that proves you don't need lots of money to create a very effective horror film... all you need is a great writer, cinematographer and actors. I really enjoyed this film.

I'm a little different from many horror fans in that I appreciate a good story line within the genre without necessarily needing to be scared by it. Such is the case with Neverlake.

Jenny comes to her father's Tuscany home from New York as a teenager, not having seen him since she went away to school. The house is near a lake with a rich history of Etruscan legends, which Jenny's father is researching.

Soon she becomes bored because Dad tends to be elusive, his housekeeper is rather brittle and Jenny doesn't like her. One day she takes a walk and meets a blind girl who takes her to visit the orphanage where she lives. She tells Jenny, "It's fine, just don't let the grownups see you. They're bad." Jenny continues to visit, and one night she learns the full history of the lake and its power.

Meanwhile, the relationship between Jenny and her father becomes stranger and stranger. One night, she faints, only to wake up in a hospital bed with her father explaining that she'd been sick with an infection and had needed surgery. A heavily drugged Jenny goes back to sleep to wake up back in her own bed.

The story slows down a bit, and some viewers may become bored, but I found the film so atmospheric that it kept me engaged. Piece by piece, Jenny begins to learn of the powers of the lake and her father's involvement in the strange orphanage. The children send Jenny on a mission that brings the story to its very satisfying conclusion.

I will say that it was the first time I felt like crying at the end of a horror film. And that wouldn't have happened without an interesting story, good actors and a rich atmosphere in which to tell this unusual tale. You won't find monsters or ghosts in this film, but you won't need them because the horror comes not from the dead, but the living. I recommend this film highly for those cold, dark nights when you want to settle in with a good story with both atmosphere and foreboding.
the file is awesome. the beginning reminds you some old movies which goes in linear manner. I mean up to the half of the movie, there is no special thing in the story, but the scenes and the background music keeps you watching it anyway. but believe me it worth to watch every minutes of it. I watched this movie with my wife together while she normally doesn't like the horror movies, because they are like comedy movies these days; but this movie, how the story starts and end will freeze you at the end without doubt. frankly saying, it can be classified a thriller and drama rather than horror, because it doesn't have any horror scene at all. I appreciate the scenarist for the great story and the director for great movie. these days you cannot find such a movie that makes you feel satisfaction at the end. I gave this movie 8 out of 10 and recommend everyone to sit and watch it from the beginning to the very last minute of the movie.
And that's all the explanation you're gonna get about this hodgepodge of a movie. It's a story about a teenage girl going to visit her estranged father or a surprise vacation in the middle of a school year only to get entangled in a organ harvesting fiasco, where she gets to meet a lot of ghosts her age. Because, Lake.

To understand the movie better, these a a few stuff you have to keep in mind: 1. Teenagers are the most trusting and unsuspecting bunch of the lot.

a) Somehow, being raised by her grandma on her mother's side, Jenny knows nothing about her dead mom, which is the most usual thing on earth. Grandma dislikes Dad, Jenny's meeting stepmom for the first time (apparently) and by the look of it she's never even heard about her, she's happy happy about it though (good on her) and she takes dubious handful of "vitamin" pills everyday her Dad prescribed from the moment she arrives. Without asking why. Without asking how he could've known her health situations without even checking her once. Because, Lake (you need strength for hiking). That hiking with Dad never happens but oh well, we'll continue taking the pills. Teenagers are trusting like that.

b) She meets a strange child by the Lake, eyes bandaged up, never gets curious, takes her to a dilapidated building where she meets more of them, comes back to them everyday to read them poems and stories, no adults around ("make sure you're not seen by the adults, they are evil!"), never asks how they live on their own 'cause that's obviously a very normal setting of things.

c) The situation at home gets weird, Dad locks himself in his office for hours or going over to the nearby town overnight, stepmom acting sinister though never forgetting to give her pills, she sees them arguing over some curious hush hush topic through crack of the door, Dad being generally douchy by not taking her anywhere apart from one errand to a shop and she never questions why he called her over in the first place. Vacation, yay, only she's not happy and throws a token tantrum once. still no questions, though.

d) Wakes up in an operating room: lost expression, learns had had an operation for a dubious "sudden adrenaline gland dysfunction": promptly back to her happy self. Doesn't matter that she was a healthy young woman all her life. What operation? What did they do to her? This doesn't look like a hospital! Why is her abdomen paining? Blegh, questions are for dummies. "I'm okay with "Operations" but can we go get an ice cream later?!"

2. Medicine? Works sometimes. Paranormal cures? Well, work sometimes as well. Ta-Daa! We bring you Paramedical Science, guaranteed to work without a glitch through all those nooks in your body medicine and voodoo cannot reach. Got your organs and tendons turning into bones due to over-calcification? We replace the affected organ from a healthy (unwilling) donor but also make sure to carve it out in stone and throw in the middle of the lake. See, we're not sure which one works but if you pull those stone figures out of water, your new organs will turn into stone. Why? Because, Power of the Laaake! Could we have just thrown stone carvings of organs into the lake to cure you then, since that part seems to trump the other? I guess, but that wouldn't make this an interesting movie. 3. When you regain consciousness right before a multiple organ harvest from you and the bad guys are right in the next room with door ajar, don't forget to go back to your room upstairs and pull on a jeans. 'Cause you might need a drink after you've saved your own life and saved the day and pubs look down upon hospital scrub as the dress code.

4. Octopus Medusa Lady living in the lake is a good woman, though she may be blind. Peter needs to tell her what's happening in the lake right under her nose before she comes to your rescue. Good thing she has a hotline to the cops though, they'll arrive right on cue to arrest the stepmom (for what?) while you're still searching inside the dilapidated house after killing your dad and Stepsister.

5. It's heroic to kill your disabled stepsister who was ecstatic on learning she has a sister. Bringing the stone figures out of the lake wouldn't get back your kidney or risk your other organs now that Dad is dead but where's the fun if you don't get to kill anyone innocent?

6. Shelly's poetry makes everything sound polished. Even repeated rants about "sensitive plants" and organs. Promise.

All in all, I have no clue to what I just watched. Hopefully, armed with these hints you will. Good luck!
I was initially very excited about this movie. Perhaps it's just the English Major side of me, but I was thrilled by the prospect of a possible eclectic horror film based off of Shelley's poem "The Sensitive Plant." While the movie started off well, I was gravely disappointed by the end.

There's enough mystery throughout the beginning of the film to keep you going right till the very end, if only just to know what exactly is going on in this creepy Italian lake. I was impressed with the creep factor without the cheap jump scares and such, and I was intrigued by the possible plot line that was kept just out of reach.

However, Jenny's father being a psychotic murderer/rapist who was harvesting the organs of his children (children he raped Jenny's mother - who is locked up in a hospital - to conceive), was most definitely not the twist I was expecting. Not to mention the fact that none of this meshes with the mythological spirits of these Etruscan Idols.

There were so many cultural references in this movie! There was the story of the Etruscans and the supernatural power of the lake. Great! Poetry references out the wazoo. Awesome, good to have a horror film with classic literature! Then there was the possible overkill of Peter Pan parallels, which no one else seems to mention in the reviews: the name of the movie is Neverlake, much like Neverland; a group of "orphan" children led by a mysterious boy named Peter who has even more mysterious powers; she READS them Peter Pan; her mother's last name is Darling, for crying out loud! Anyway, all of this led me to believe the ending would be a smorgasbord of historical and cultural allusions.

But no. There's just some creepy doctor who somehow got away with fathering and killing five children to keep his firstborn alive. Nothing really fit together. This movie had such potential to be something great and other-worldly, but the storyline just took a fall of a cliff in the last fifteen minutes of the film.

Also, can we just talk about the uncomfortable UST between Jenny and Peter?

From the beginning, we're led to believe that there's a possible connection between the two: Jenny asking Peter if he likes love stories; Peter saying he only likes the ones ending in tragedies (which, if you're already guessing he's a ghost, you might think he means he and Jenny since he's dead); the way they freaking look at each other; the forehead kiss when he "comes to her" in the hospital room.

All of this leads the viewers to believe that Jenny will be devastated when she finds out this handsome young man she's (most likely) fallen for is really dead.

Instead, we find out he's actually her BROTHER! Her dead brother, who likes tragic romance stories and who was only conceived because their mother was raped. It's just...weird and creepy and ew. Just gross.

Overall, I gave this a 4 out of ten, because while I was greatly disappointed, there were redeeming qualities about the film. I wouldn't say it's a 'complete' waste of time, but I wouldn't necessarily recommend it either.
As usual I'm completely gob-smacked by the negative reviews. I read some of them and it's clear to me that some people don't bother paying attention when they're watching movies. Someone was sneering at a ghost supposedly being able to carve figures into walls - clearly they failed to understand that it wasn't ghosts who did that it was actual children, flesh and blood real life kiddies. I mean seriously, if you didn't bother to pay even a cursory amount of attention to understand that fairly basic yet important point how can your review have any credibility? I wish people who don't watch the movies properly would stop giving reviews & pretending they know what they're talking about. Clearly, if you didn't watch it you don't know. At least state that you didn't really watch it so it's honest (eg sometimes I skip whole sections of boring movies - and if I review it I'll say so! It's only fair).

Sorry, rant over - it just infuriates me that really good movies, like this one, get undermined by people who haven't even had the decency to give them a fair viewing but go ahead and write slamming negative reviews anyway.

This is a fairly slow-paced, dream-like and beautiful movie with some moments of shock/horror and a very nasty underlying story. Good acting, well written, excellent cinematography/direction/editing and some endearing child actors all add up to a movie worth seeing. With all the rubbish out there it's a crime that something like this is being rated so low. My score for it is slightly higher than it deserves but I wanted to balance out all those negative nellies who've given it a score WELL below what it deserves. It's probably a solid 7 in reality.
I was impressed with the first 5 minutes or so, and that kept me around through this entire movie, however though it was a decent ghost story, there are a lot of really boring moments in it. I felt over all that the first half of the movie could have been titled "The blind leading the ignorant" and that would have been enough to just move past the whole getting to know the children stage.

The main theme hidden under the ghost story, and the mystery itself is that you must pay attention to the foreshadowing, and they try very hard to get you to notice this "subtly".

Jenny's Dad is evil, sorry I had to just blurt it out like that but without that he just look like a looming specter himself, and you need a bit more Dad meat in the first half of the story to establish him, or he just comes across as flat as he does. Joy Tanner is as good as she usually is, except, well what accent is she supposed to have, and where does it keep going. Beyond the accent she is as evil from the first scene she appears in as you think she will be, and that takes something right?

Overall I Enjoyed this, I would say it is aimed at a younger demographic surely, the romantic poetry spouting twenty somethings, and younger yet, but you young at heart, lonely hearts might like it as well. It is not a scary sort of ghost story, it is simply a story of revenge that has been a long time coming as these stories usually are.

Jesse of www.Jesse.ca
Hidden Winter
Hidden Winter
Movie: NEVERLAKE, My Rating and review (8/10) So much better than the 5 rating and absence of reviews

I love a horror movie with a happy ending. It's so rare. The only two I can name from modern history are Fingerprints, and Haunting of Connecticut Part 2. This makes a worthy #3

What an overlooked little gem of a movie. A refreshing, and effective take on the Frankenstein mythology. I love the poetry, the acting, the directing, the mood, the lighting, the pacing. It's a bit of a slower burn, but not disparagingly so. I enjoyed it immensely... and would recommend it.

A nice surprise.
This film does have a few head scratchers, like how the children are being kept and operated on without anyone knowing and how one of them is surviving without a heart.

The children come across as a little creepy at first, but you realise that there's more to them and the really sinister people are some others.

Daisy Keeping is an amazing actress, and not to mention very easy on the eye too! Her portrayal of Jenny as someone who wants to reconnect with her biological father is quite touching, which makes it worse when you find out the real agenda. Still, Jenny is a fighter and doesn't just roll over and meekly accept things. The only possible criticism of Daisy is that her character speaks with a clear (and lovely) Welsh accent, but is supposed to be American. I don't see how that works, nevertheless, everything else about her is great.

The film is suspenseful, but you know from the outset that something is not right about two characters: a father who invites his daughter to live with him but keeps shunning her (for a very sinister agenda), and a stepmother who has an unhealthy obsession with feeding Jenny vitamins and supplements.

I was shocked as to the real twist, though I was surprised that Jenny wasn't told honestly from the beginning. The film does end abruptly, but I hope there is a sequel of some sort.

Clearly, Daisy Keeping has talent and I would love to see more of her (Welsh accent or not!).
When I say 'action', I mean getting to the meat of the story.

First 50 mins (and yes, I went back and double checked on BluRay) were way too boring. So boring that I had this BluRay since 2014 and only NOW (in 2015) sat through it all because I had nothing else to watch.

So yeah, first 50 mins will bore you. Last 35 mins will enthrall you.

Last 35 mins also are surprisingly darker than I imagined, for this movie. First 50 mins give you the impression that you are watching some same old cliché-fest of a ghost movie. But I would say, the ending moments are pretty good.

Also, the movie is well acted. But some of the dialogues feel too artificial (only 'some'). Overall, watch the movie for the last 35 mins, it's worth it.

5/10 (5 for the last 35 mins, -5 for the first 50 mins)
It's hard to talk about this movie without giving away the ending, so spoilers to anyone who wants to see this movie (which is probably nobody).

The story revolves around Jenny, who is staying with her father and step mother in Italy (even though the majority of people in this movie are British). We start to get little bits of information as the movie progresses but it all has to do with the lake in the middle of the woods. Jenny meets a bunch of orphans and she visits them regularly in secrecy. But we learn there might be something sinister in the lake, something that might want to get Jenny...

Oh no wait, turns out the creepy octopus monster in the lake has nothing to do with the story at all. The father is the real villain because he was using Jenny this whole time to harvest her organs so that he could save his first daughter, and the orphans are actually Jenny's siblings and the father has Jenny's mother tied up in the orphanage and didn't actually die. Oh, and apparently he removed statues from the lake and through stones into it so that the magic of the lake can save the dying daughter. Also one of the orphans is a handsome boy who can summon the octopus lady for some reason. Also the orphans are ghosts. Or not, they really didn't explain that part of the movie very well.

So, let's get right down to it, the ending makes no sense. Why didn't the father just ask Jenny to donate her organs, she seemed like a nice girl, she'd probably do it. Why did Jenny need to retrieve the stones and statues? Why couldn't the ghosts do that? We see that the ghosts can infiltrate people's dreams and crave drawings into walls with nothing, so who's to say they can just float into the house, take the statues, through them into the lake, float down to the bottom of the lake and retrieve the stones? Also, why was the Octopus Lady trying to scare Jenny this whole time if she was a benevolent spirit? And why did the father need Jenny and the Orphan's organs if he has a magical lake to save the dying daughter? Can't the "magic" cure the illness she has? And why didn't it? Why did he need the organs? And were we really supposed to be happy when the Jenny gets the last stone and kills the poor girl? She didn't do anything wrong, I feel more bad for the father than Jenny and those dumb orphans. This movie promised so much and yet delivered so little. This is not the worst movie I've seen, but it definitely has the worst ending. I'll give three stars for the great cinematography, but's that's about it. The acting is wooden, the writing is bland, and the story is awful.
I am aware that this film is not perfect. Maybe eight out of then is a little too high as a rate but you should consider that since the seventies and early eighties the Italian horror movie gender has been completely abandoned and disown here in its homeland. So it really gives me solace that for once there is an Italian horror movie that I can support without shame. And mind you, I am not usually enthusiastic about my country.

Of course since Italian acting school nowadays is dreadful one of the things that keeps this film going is the fact that the cast is international. Good choice. None of the actors is a genius but they all are quite good.

I like a lot that the story talks about ancient Italian myths and it is set in a gloomy misty Tuscany miles away from the clichés we are used to in American movie. Tuscany is sunny and full of vegetation and vines and good food and beautiful country houses and charming little towns but in winter it really is just like that.

The screenplay is good. All the flaws in the story you can pick up during the movie have an explanation in the end if you are patient. It has almost the kind of creepy feeling of a Pupi Avati movie but it actually makes sense in the end.

Unfortunately the film slows down a lot during the second half before the final part and this is my main problem with it.

This said, the direction is good and discreet, the screenplay is interesting the CG special effects are few but nice so I am really happy to support this film. If only there were more like this one made in Italy...
I don't understand all of the negative reviews. I really enjoyed this movie. It was interesting, had a wonderful feeling to it. The landscape and music were very interesting And the twist kept coming. The way the story unfolded Kept you enthralled. I was completely on the edge of my seat the majority of the movie. I could not wait to see how this played out. It was different than most scary movies. There were moments I felt tense. But the need to see how this played out overrode my fear. Give this one a go. You won't be disappointed.
This is not an ordinary horror film. It is more mystery than horror. Jenny (Daisy Keeping) has been away living with grandma Rose and then a boarding school. She takes off from boarding school to visit her estranged British father (David Brandon) near Lake Arezzo, Tuscany. It was here the ancient Etruscans would toss idols in the lake for healing purposes.

Dad is a doctor and is very stealthy. He ignores his daughter to her dismay and she is at odds with Olga (Joy Tanner ) the house keeper. Jenny meets a strange group of children who live in a weird nearby hospital. She visits and reads to them.

Jenny loves literature. She narrates about life and the lake usually quoting the poems of Shelly.

The film moved slow but was engaging. Some scenes gave me flashbacks to "Lady in the Water" which the film has nothing in common. I liked the idea of using the Lake of Idols and Etruscans as a background. I kept hoping they weren't going to make the Etrucans aliens. When the mystery was solved, I felt it was a let down. It was like adding a limerick to a Shelly poem. A "B" ending to what was developing to be an "A" mystery.

Better than most Redbox "B" horror rentals.

Parental Guide: No f-bombs, sex, or nudity.
Sometimes, someone has a pretty nice idea that depending on right, smart and carefully planned execution has the potential to become a great film. Neverlake is, in my opinion, an example of how a wanting execution spoils this kind of a nice idea. After watching it I couldn't help but feeling bad for whomever was responsible for the general plot, as it felt to me like showing such a story the right way could have been great, while showing it in this way simply didn't do it justice.

As the trailers and plot summaries have already told you, Neverlake tells the story of a teenage girl going to visit her father in Italy. There, she is confronted by both his half colleague half lover (showing a bluntly exaggerated interest in her physical health) and a party of children of different ages each suffering from some sort of physical ailment of deformity. In addition, the storyline is saturated with hints alluding to something supernatural haunting the nearby lake. Enough to make one curious and follow the plot closely, but also enough to frustrate a viewer, because okay, we get it, stop wasting screen time with another unnecessary hint, that's not how you set up a plot twist.

And then? Comes the plot twist, which is nefarious and grim, but has extremely little to do with the aforementioned redundant hints. Following the initial shock I couldn't help but wonder why the heck I was shown all these hints only to lead to such a twist. Either the hints or the twist should not have been used, it almost feels like the creators couldn't come up with enough relevant scenes.

After all this criticism anyone reading could think that I didn't enjoy Neverlake, but I actually did. The fine acting and intriguing characters along with a story that could have been better but isn't all bad were seemingly enough to create a rewarding Horror experience. I'm merely saying one should lower their expectations in advance if they wish to enjoy this film, and not wait for anything spectacular or overly impressive. An average story in an average film.
Neverlake: This could have been a very good horror film but s left down by pacing, especially in the middle act.

A girl arrives in Tuscany, travelling from her US boarding school to visit her father who has carried out Archaeological work at an Etruscan site in a lake for the past 20 years. She meets some strange children who tell her that the spirits of the Etruscan's are disturbed because their statues have been removed.

This is a ghost story but also contains a real life saga which is far more terrifying .

Worth watching.
"Neverlake" isn't necessarily a great horror movie, but one thing's undeniable: the plot contains more than enough potentially strong ideas to fill at least three movies! I almost overlooked this film because it looks so mundane and derivative, but then I discovered that it's Italian (my favorite country for horror movies) and that it stars David Brandon (semi-successful lead actor of "Stagefright", "Delirium: Photos of Gioia" and "Caligola: The Untold Story"). The film is reasonably well-made, but the script is too ambitious and director Riccardo Paoletti makes the rookie mistake that he desperately attempts to uphold the various mysteries for far too long. It's complex, with a lot of references towards Tuscan culture and particularly the Etruscan civilization, but also supernatural themes and mad surgeon twists. Gorgeous young teenager Jenny Brooks visits her father in his birth region of Tuscany, Italy, for the very first time since her mother died. Her father used to be an acclaimed doctor but now he's into archaeology and researching the nearby Etruscan Lake of Idols. Jenny was hoping to visit the beautiful region, but her father is always locked up in his study room or away on business, so she sets out exploring herself and meets a group of disabled children in a ramshackle hospital. Riccardo Paoletti builds up a lot of tension and mystery, but why, in fact? From the very first moment that Jenny's father walks into the screen, it's abundantly clear that he's malicious and unreliable. The atmosphere in "Neverlake" is admirably ominous and spooky and the filming locations and set pieces are often astounding, but the film could have used a better pacing and more frequent bloodshed. The finale, however, is terrific and reminiscent of the good old- fashioned Gothic Italian horrors of the fifties and sixties. The acting performances are quite good as well. Daisy Keeping looks like a slightly young version of Danielle Harris, which is always an example if you want to make it in the horror industry, and is even credible as the clever young girl who's a fan of Gothic poetry (Percy Shelley, Edgar Allen Poe, etc…)
Jenny is an American teen; born in Italy, she visits her widowed father who lives near a mysterious lake - a real one. On the drive back to his house she sees a young boy in the road, but he doesn't. This and her subsequent meetings with a bizarre collection of apparently sick boys and girls - including one who appears to be blind - beggar the question is it all in her head, or is something else going on?

Daddy is a retired surgeon, who retired to study what, precisely? Whatever it is, there is good reason for her to believe it is not what he says it is, not quite, anyway.

The riddle of the ghosts is resolved, but wildly improbable plot though this may be, the real monsters are closer to home, and both what they did in the past, and what they intend to do to her is unthinkable.
Did I say this was a sick film? Well, upgrading that opinion to total demented ... and that comes from a person that know the full definition of both those words! It takes a little while to catch on to what the writer has done ... but, the real tangible proof occurs in a graveyard ... but surprise turns into disgust once you witness the madness! And the deeper you go, the sicker this movie gets! And when you reach the final secret ... you want to slap the writer's face ... at least I did! This is a writer I never want to meet ... or even discover his/her name.

Okay ... the writer did a great job of bringing out the viewers worse moments, worse emotions, and that means the writer did exactly as planned. However ..... raping one of the world's greatest children's story is a pretty sick way of accomplishing his/her aims! The acting is quite good ... each actor accomplished their role with adequate precision! The talents in this film are quite remarkable ... except when it comes to the part of Olga ... nothing surprising there, her story was obvious from start to finish. Poor scripting? Possibly. But it could also be poor casting! She does come to fruition by the time the movie is in its final lap of the race ... unfortunately, she just isn't a thoroughbred ... not in this film anyway. The part of the father was played well ... but his part in this film was all too obvious! The ones that took their roles and ran away with it ... in other words, those that stole the film ... were the children, which includes the star role of Jenny! The bottom line ... the children made this film watchable ... but the story, itself, was totally demented! I will say this ... this is the first film I have reviewed that has said what needed to be said, without giving away any actual part, or plot, of the movie! Should you watch the movie? I think so ... but expect a whole lot of emotions to come pouring out of your mind!