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Home | Film Review: The House by the Edge of the Lake (1979)

Film Review: The House by the Edge of the Lake (1979)


Years after her mother drowned under mysterious circumstances in a lake a woman returns to the site where it happened. It isn’t long before some weird things start to happen (such as any man she has sex with dying immediately afterward and her developing some sort of weird psychic link with another woman). Will she find out the truth behind her mother’s death or is she destined to end up at the bottom of the lake as well before she figures out what is really going on?


Have you ever watched a movie and wondered what the hell was going on the entire time? That pretty much sums up my feelings for The House by the Edge of the Lake (not to be confused by the superior House on the Edge of the Park). I gave it my complete and total attention while I was watching it and to be honest I don’t have a clue what was going on for most of it. I thought that it was a convoluted, confusing mess of a film that made little to no sense whatsoever and after everything was said and done I found myself sitting there scratching my head wondering what the hell I just watched. In the words of the always awesome Joe Bob Briggs when discussing movies that had overly complicated plots this The House by the Edge of the Lake had too much plot getting in the way of the story and the end results are pretty unimpressive.

The biggest flaw that the movie had was the fact that the plot was just everywhere. There is way too much going on here and it is hard to actually keep track of what is going on for the biggest majority of the time. Even though only two people wrote the script it seems like about a dozen people worked on it and none of them communicated with each other while they were writing it. The main story centers around Lillian returning to her hometown to find out the details behind her mother’s drowning death when she was a kid and then we discover that she has some sort of weird psychic link with Lilith, another woman that lives there (Lilith always knows when Lillian is having sex with someone and proceeds to play with herself every time for some unknown reason as a result).

The guys that Lillian has sex with always die moments later for some unknown reason after seeing the image of some woman (that was thought to be a witch when she was alive)walking around with a cat, and on top of everything else there’s some dude wearing a hooded robe running around with an axe. If all that wasn’t confusing enough there’s also a little blind girl that seems to have some sort of supernatural powers that pops up from time-to-time to say something weird and somewhat cryptic to Lillian. It all sounds like a little too much and very confusing, right? You don’t know the half of it (oh, I forgot to mention that there is also this deal with this weird symbol that keeps popping up that is related to everything too).  There is just too many things going on at once in this movie and to be honest none of it really makes a whole lot of sense so it is very hard to keep up with everything and know just what the hell is actually happening for the most part. A lot of this stuff could have been taken out if you ask me as most of it is unnecessary and causes nothing but confusion in the long run.

There are also too many characters crammed into the movie as well. The biggest majority of them are interchangeable and less than a handful of them are actually important. It was hard to keep up with who was who and there was a certain point that I just gave up even trying to do so because I figured out that most weren’t even that crucial to the plot and really didn’t have any sort of point. Really the only characters that mattered where Lillian and Lilith for the most part and if you do watch this movie you can just ignore about 99% of the other characters that they interact with during the course of the film. To be honest I can’t really even remember any of their names so that should tell you how unimportant they truly were. I have no idea why the people behind it decided to put so many characters in it and I think that over half of them could have been left out completely and it wouldn’t have really changed anything about the movie at all.

On the plus side there is quite a bit of nudity in the movie and at times it almost seems like a half assed soft core porno. Lillian certainly likes having sex with anyone that is interested and we see quite a bit of her in several states of undress as a result (which is a good thing as she is an attractive young lady).

As I mentioned earlier we also get to see Lilith diddling herself several times during the course of the movie and while these scenes are more goofy than erotic for the most part they are still enjoyable as she is pretty easy on the eyes as well. I also liked the epic, brutal catfight at the end of the movie between Lillian and Lilith as it is pretty hardcore as they quite frankly beat the hell out of each other. Their fight has all the elements needed for a classic catfight including hair pulling, slapping, clawing, and rolling around on the ground trying to maim each other and there are even a few punches, kicks, and a knee to the crotch at one point thrown in for good measure (of course they both end up topless during their battle as most of their clothes get ripped off in the process which was a definite plus). I won’t tell you who wins and what happens to the loser but in my opinion this scene was probably the highlight of the movie for me.

I just couldn’t get into The House by the Edge of the Lake for a number of reasons and I can’t say that I particularly enjoyed the time that I spent with it. I thought that it was sort of a huge mess and even if I watched it again (which I don’t plan on doing) I still don’t think that I would fully understand most of it. I think that the people behind it tried a little too hard and threw in way too many twists and turns and the movie suffers as a whole as a result. It drags on a little too long and the half ass explanation for everything that we kind of get at one point isn’t anything special so in general I feel like I wasted my time even bothering with it. Check it out for the nudity and the catfight at the end, but other than that there is really no other reason to watch it.

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