Lake Michigan Monster Review: A Drugged-out Nautical Adventure with 50s Monster Movie Madness


Every now and then a thoroughly unique and magnificently odd piece of filmmaking comes along that’s not quite classifiable, yet so refreshingly weird it can’t help but find its audience. Lake Michigan Monster, a new release from Arrow Video, is just that kind of experience. Writer/director/star Ryland Brickson Cole Tews is the warped comedic mind behind this Audience Award winner at 2019’s Fantasia Film Festival, which is above all else an absurdist comedy with a little 50s monster movie splashed in. It’s a drugged-out, black and white nautical adventure, shot on an admirably tiny budget, that watches like a lengthy sketch, and an inspired one at that. Littered with dry wit, slapstick bits, caricaturistic characters, kooky edits, and brief homages to classic B horror, Lake Michigan Monster is an earnestly funny, one-of-a-kind wild joy to watch.

Lake Michigan Monster tells the story of Seafield (Ryland Brickson Cole Tews,) a bourbon-drinking, self-absorbed, and cartoonishly goofy sea captain who sets out to kill the lion-sized aquatic monster who supposedly murdered his father on the shore of Lake Michigan near Milwaukee. He assembles an unpolished crew of misfits to assist him on the hunt. Sean Shaughnessy (Erick West) is deemed the weapons specialist. Nedge Pepsi (Beulah Peters) is the sonar expert. Former naval officer Dick Flynn (Daniel Long) is the main man of action in the water. Although the team members doubt the actual existence of this monster that Seafield is avenging, they can’t argue with the $3,000 a day he’s paying them.

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