Distasteful film “Lakewood” is a shamelessly exploitative exercise in pure awfulness. This is one that truly never should have been made. The setup is slow, and the majority of the film features nothing more than Naomi Watts running around a wooded area and talking on her cell phone. It’s insulting, it’s pointless, and its purposeful misdirection is worthy of the loudest boos an audience can muster.

A mother (Watts) is out for her morning run, miles away from home. She gets a harrowing phone call and learns that her child’s school is on lockdown. You can probably guess why.

The story lacks substance, is implausible, and absolutely ridiculous. Screenwriter Chris Sparling forces a message about the importance of good mental health services and treatment into the already clunky dialogue, which causes this lame thriller to come across as grossly insincere.

The movie was filmed during the lockdown by director Phillip Noyce, with a minimal cast and one-on-one scenario that’s not at all clever. Not only is “Lakewood” a poor example of pandemic-era filmmaking, it’s just not good. 

This film was screened for review at the 2021 Toronto International Film Festival.

By: Louisa Moore

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