Director: Jon Steven Ward
Cast: Riley Smith, Sarah Lancaster, Anna Faris, Billy O' Sullivan. Erin J. Dean
Fright Meter Award Winner: Best Supporting Actress
Thirteen years ago, a madman armed with a hook brutally murdered a couple making out at Lover's Lane. Now, as Valentine's Day approaches and the children of the victims and their friends plan to party the night away at the same location, the murderer has broken out of his institution and is heading back to Lover's Lane to do some celebrating of his own, hook and all.
The main problem with Lover's Lane is that it was dated even upon its release in 1999. Sure, the Scream franchise reignited interest in the slasher genre, but unfortunately Lover's Lane lacks the clever script, hip, well know cast, and slick production and direction that aided in making Scream successful. Instead, it is a clear throwback to the simple slasher films of the 1980's, complete with the low-budget, direct to video feel and all. Had the film been released ten years earlier, maybe it would have made of an impact, because it is not a bad film. In fact, there are some truly effective scenes in the film that make it memorable enough, including a tense chase through a secluded farmhouse. Unfortunately, the audio and video quality is not great, which hinders the potential effectiveness of much of the film. The action moves at a brisk pace, despite the clunkiness of the script, and the characters are pretty well-developed. The acting from the teenagers is decent, but the same cannot be said about the adults in the film. Future Scary Movie star Anna Faris delivers a brief, but highly enjoyable and memorable performance; it was very apparent from her performance here that she would be a star. Unfortunately, the film lacks in the gore department, which is disappointing consider the DVD case mentions how the film is NOT suitable for children under seventeen because of excessive gore. Honestly, any of the Friday the 13th films are gorier. Despite the film's decent pace and definite 80's slasher feel throughout, it nearly falls apart because of the ending. There IS such a thing as trying to do too much with the whole "twist" ending, and this film is a prime example. A much simpler, more straightforward ending would have been much better and less jarring. The film moves along well enough as a traditional slasher film with now self-referential jokes, comic relief, or inside jokes, so the convoluted, modernistic ending does not quite fit with the rest of the film.
Still, this film will cause horror fans some nostalgic feelings because it does take us back the simpler, golden age of slasher films. Is it perfect? No, far from it. But it accomplishes what it sets out to do and even manages a few memorable, creepy scenes along the way.
Fright Meter Grade: