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Stranger by the Lake is effortlessly suspenseful as a mysterious murderer strikes local cruising spot

It’s summertime in France and for a lotta guys that just means long days spent by the lake sunbathing and cruising through the woods trying to get some before sundown (or you know, long after sundown if you’re into the” doin’-it-in-the bushes-late-night” type of thing). And for Franck (Pierre Deladonchamps), a lake regular (OK, he goes every single day), suddenly he has his summer all planned out right as he spots THE one. Little does he know this mysteriously sexy stranger is a lot more dangerous than his tan bod and sexy porn star mustache come across. But guys are guys, so…a little danger can be fun, right? But by danger I don’t just mean like, this guy rides a motorcycle around without a helmet either, I mean like this guy is sociopath killer status.

After bamboozling over Michele (Christophe Paou) from afar with his new found friend Henri (Patrick d’Assumçao), a divorced loner on holiday (and who INSISTS he’s not at the lake to cruise), Franck grows more curious of his mystery lover and ends up staying late one night spying on him hooking up. But the ending isn’t so good; Michel ends up drowning his lover in the lake and leaves the scene like nothing ever happened (he also has a tendency to put his tennis shoes on RIGHT when he gets out of the water, meaning: men who tolerate soggy feet are probably murderers.) This leaves a very smitten Franck in somewhat of a discrepancy: how could his mouth-watering lover so seemingly perfect ALSO be a killer? And could this actually be kind of hot? OF COURSE it’s kind of hot; what is hotter than a really sexy murderer, I mean seriously? Weirdly enough this gives Franck the green light and he refuses to ignore his passion for Michele.

Without saying anything more that might spoil the whole rest of Alain Guiraudie’s Stranger by the Lake (L’inconnu du lac), this movie is suspenseful without seeming like its trying too hard (the whole thing is filmed at one location, the lake, after all.) And the story is set up so perfectly that by the time the end comes you will be curled up covering your eyes ready to scream—something that I think is hard to do successfully nowadays, but Guiraudie pulled it off well.

(photo via Fin de Cinema)

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Kaitlin Duffy is a writer from Cleveland. When she's not blogging or pondering the great complexities of the world and outer space, she is finding rare vinyl steals, visiting new places, laughing often, Instagramming everything in sight, watching movies, or working on her first feature Port de Cleve.