Fifty years after the unsolved Lake Bodom murders, Annikki (Vivien Turzo) and Pietari (Bence Kovacs) are two students who decide to do their thesis on the crime. The two head off to Lake Bodom and, not surprisingly as this is a found footage film, they are alleged to not survive their efforts.
Said to be Hungary's first "found footage" film, Bodom appears to be mostly inspired by an actual 1960 multiple homicide that occurred at the real life Lake Bodom which, strangely enough, is located in Finland. Fuzzy details aside, this feature film effort from the fine folks at Hungary's Elekes Pictures has been pictured up by Continuum Motion Pictures for a U.S. release on DVD/VOD later this year and will likely appeal to fans of the indie "found footage" scene, though the film lacks, for the most part, anything resembling real scares and will likely prove dissatisfying to anyone hoping for the latest and greatest indie horror flick.
The film sets the tone rather nicely, with solid lensing by Gergo Elekes and effective original music by Elekes and Akos Tomena helping to give the film an emotional and occasionally eerie feeling. However, the film struggles with a basic that can prove challenging for a film dependent upon impact when language is an issue - subtitles. The film's bright white subtitles provide an almost jarring contrast to Bodom's otherwise dark greys and rather melancholy production design from Zoltan Jakab. The effect, at least for me, was that even in the film's more intense moments the brightness kept me from fully immersing myself in the world that Bodom was trying to create.
Bodom, which was an official selection of the famed Bram Stoker International Film Festival along with other European fests, is a really weird film to pin down. The performances from co-leads Vivien Turzo and Bence Kovacs are quite fine, with both performers giving the dialogue an honesty and gravity that works well within the context of the film. It truly feels like these two know each other, yet it also feels like they've traveled quite the journey together and, just perhaps, this kind of trip is just plain a bad idea.
However, there's also times when Bodom simply doesn't work as well. The actual story is more like a decent idea that never quite gets fleshed out, and while it seems like a "found footage" film is ideal for a low-budget flick there are definitely times when the film's effectiveness is hindered by a fluctuating sound mix and lighting issues that make scenes too grainy to be effective.
It also feels like the story for Bodom needed a bit more tweaking before being set in stone. This is a great idea. I mean, c'mon, how many of you have even heard of the Lake Bodom murders (NOTE: Because I run an online memorial for child victims of violence I actually had heard of the murders)? It's a great theme that just needs a little more cohesiveness to turn it all into a story that will captivate you from beginning to end.
Bodom is a decent film and it's a film that truly reveals the talent of those participating, though it's an occasionally maddening film that never gels together enough to truly satisfy. The sum doesn't equal the parts. Much like the murders themselves, the mystery that is Bodom remains unsolved.
© Written by Richard Propes
The Independent Critic