TV review: Black Lake, BBC Four
- Henry Northmore
- 11 September 2017
Frosty Scandinavian chiller plays like a long form slasher movie
What was once an oddity has become the norm. International (preferably Scandinavian) thrillers have become a staple of UK TV, especially with BBC Four and Channel 4's Walter Presents steadily drip feeding the British public with some the best shows from around the globe. Black Lake ticks a lot of boxes a Swedish / Danish / Norwegian co-production set at an abandoned ski resort.
It looks and feels like a Nordic noir but actually plays like a long form slasher movie (much like recent US series Dead of Summer, Scream Queens and Slasher or the classic Harper's Island) as a group of attractive youngsters gather in a remote isolated location. The characters are thinly sketched but likeable enough with only leads Hanne (Sarah-Sofie Boussnina) and Johan (Filip Berg) given any kind of depth or personality in the opening episodes.
However, Black Lake is more concerned with building atmosphere and tension than detailed character studies. The resort was the site of a gruesome multiple murder back in 1996. There are hints of supernatural forces at work, piling on the bad omens and red herrings: strange noises in the middle of the night, Hanne uncovers some creepy prophetic kids pictures, Johan offends some gnarly locals, there's a grumpy crusty caretaker lurking in the background while Jessen (Aliette Opheim) starts having horrific nightmares.
Black Lake isn't afraid to exploit a handful of genre clichés but horror fans will find a lot to like even as it rehashes familiar themes and plot points. They need to up the pace (and the body count) but this is a fun creepy diversion if you are bored of angsty, defective detectives.
Black Lake starts on BBC Four, Sat 16 Sep.