Review: Neverlake

neverlake3-stars-out-of-5

Neverlake is a unique movie, based on little understood Pagan practices of the Etruscans and inspired by the poetic works of Shelley. The unique character of this film sets it apart as all at once haunting and beautiful, conjuring images of distant rites of a forgotten people, set against the wild backdrop of the Tuscany countryside.

The movie tells the story of Jenny, a young girl who goes to visit her father, in Tuscany, where she becomes drawn into a mystery that reaches out of the past to reveal the sins of the present.

At a nearby lake, where thousands of years ago, the Etruscan people made offerings to the beings that dwell within the waters, Jenny befriends a group a sickly children, whose strange and melancholy demeanors mask a greater secret that connects them to the mysterious powers of the lake.

The movie is inspired by ‘The Lake of the Idols’, in Tuscany, where the ancient Etruscan people really did make votive offerings. Located south of Mount Falterona, the Lake of the Idols has offered up some remarkable archaeological discoveries. Hundreds of bronze artifacts have been recovered, dating from between the sixth and fourth centuries BC. Many of these artifacts are now on display at the British Museum.

Aside from the interesting Pagan background of the movie, what is really appealing is that the story itself, is very original. Though this movie is low-budget, it is high on care and attention, and its writer, Carlo Longo, should be praised for what is obviously a well researched and thoughtful film.
The cast deliver convincing performances and the direction is spot-on. All of which create a captivating air of supernatural mystery, that is ultimately emphasised by the landscape where the story is set.

This supernatural thriller is well worth a watch, though the genre might not be to everyone’s taste. But it would certainly be good to see more movie like this, where depictions of Pagan practices are inspired by history and given a sense of reality, rather than the outright fantastical or wildly horrific.

Neverlake is an original and atmospheric story that masterfully draws from that strange place where history, myth and fiction mix, to invoke a sense of wonder, horror and primal instinct.

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