When Holly's (Emma Mackey) dark secret is accidentally uncovered by her new emotionally unstable neighbor Tom (Anson Boon), they are pulled into a violent confrontation with her father, who will do anything to keep the secret hidden.

The Winter Lake feels so much like a drama you'd have seen on ITV so many times over the years, from its storyline right through to the whole look it possesses. It all feels, sadly, rather generic and doesn't do enough to stand out as the mysterious thriller it wants to be, David Turpin's screenplay being an admirable effort in trying to stir up some sort of atmosphere.

Phil Sheerin directs the film well enough, utilising Ruairí O'Brien's cinemtography to good effect to ensure there is a sense of dread hanging over the film throughout. It really does suit the film to a tee because The Winter Lake is not here to uplift anyone's mood in a hurry.

The performances are the best thing about the film, Sex Education's Emma Mackey possessing a great sense of mystery in the role of Holly. She's always mistaken for Margot Robbie thanks to the popular Netflix show however, even though she's shown plenty of potential, she's got a long way to go to reach thse heights. Anson Boon plays Tom with a real sense of vulnerability as he tries to settle into new surroundings, uncovering dark secrets of the past as he goes and forming a bond with Holly that drives the film forward. Michael McElhatton provides decent and intimidating support as Holly's father, Ward, but there isn't enough of him quite frankly.

If you're looking for something downright depressing to watch in lockdown, The Winter Lake is the film for you, bleak in its storytelling but not really bringing much else to the table. Shame as, on paper, it has a lot going for itself.

Verdict: ★★


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