×

Return to Cabin by the Lake

USA's "Return to Cabin by the Lake" is nothing like its predecessor -- and that's a good thing. Campy to the max, this sequel to last year's highly rated telepic does away with the original's misogyny and replaces it with in-jokes about the Hollywood production process.

With:
Stanley Caldwell - Judd Nelson Mike Helton - Brian Krause Alison Gaddis - Dahlia Salem

USA’s “Return to Cabin by the Lake” is nothing like its predecessor — and that’s a good thing. Campy to the max, this sequel to last year’s highly rated telepic does away with the original’s misogyny and replaces it with in-jokes about the Hollywood production process. Completely in tune with just how flaky showbiz types can be, this serial killer story is comfortable in the confines of feather-light, jokey fright.

Exec produced, like the first “Cabin,” by teen king Neal H. Moritz (“The Fast and the Furious,” “I Know What You Did Last Summer”), the second follows the same plotline — psycho writer likes to drown people — but parody has been added to great effect. A pic within a pic, project lives up to its B-movie spirit by taking place on a B-movie set, and it’s that wink-wink approach that turns what could have been a bad sequel to a bad movie into something easier to digest.

Having faked his own death to end the first “Cabin,” Stanley Caldwell (Judd Nelson) is back, and sicker than ever. After murdering scores of women in order to “research” his novels, he’s irked to discover that people are reworking one of his bestsellers for a slasher pic.

So he drowns his representation — after all, it’s always the agent’s fault — and then shows up on location at Lake Shaw to stalk flamboyant, cocky slasher director Mike Helton (Brian Krause), a perky assistant and a host of egocentric actors who would “die” for a bigger part.

Stanley’s attentions, however, eventually turn toward Alison Gaddis (Dahlia Salem), a smart and savvy scribe hired to improve the dialogue. Having educated herself about everything Stanley — his motivations, his love life, his fears — she’s the only one on the set who has tried to enter his mind, and he’s not too thrilled about that.

As soon as he offs Mike, Stanley takes over as director — everyone thinks he’s a stand-in assigned by the studio — and it’s only a matter of time before other people start turning up dead.

As Stanley the second time around, Nelson is still rather bland but does a good enough job in conveying his creepy love affair with torture. While hardly a major presence onscreen, he’s cultivating a solid character on which to base a never-ending franchise (a second sequel seems likely based on the ending). Other perfs are minor efforts, with Salem’s take on a smart girl swept away by Stanley’s mad genius the bright spot.

The Roger Corman-like set is a hoot, and more notable than the actual tech credits are the tricks of the trade highlighted throughout by returning director Po Chih Leong, including a clever use of outdoor backdrops, a tank that doubles as a lagoon and creepy mannequins made up to resemble decomposed bodies.

Return to Cabin by the Lake

USA Network; Tues. Aug. 14, 9 p.m.

Production: Filmed in Vancouver by Original Films. Executive producers, Neal H. Moritz, Dara Cohen; producer, John V. Stuckmeyer; associate producer, Judith Craig Marlin; director, Po Chih Leong, writer, Jeffrey Reddick.

Crew: Camera, Stephen Katz; editor, Anthony Redman; music, Frankie Blue; casting, Penny Perry, Trish Robinson, Mary Montica-Poole. 2 HOURS.

Cast: Stanley Caldwell - Judd Nelson Mike Helton - Brian Krause Alison Gaddis - Dahlia SalemWith: Claudette Mink, J.R. Bourne, Andrew Moxham, Michael P. Northey, Elizabeth Bowen, Kandyse McLure, Mark J. Gibbon, Will Sanderson, Natasha Wilson, Emmanuelle Vaugier, Aaron Trainor.

More TV

  • The Boys Amazon Prime

    ‘The Boys’ Lands Early Season 2 Renewal at Amazon

    Amazon has renewed “The Boys” for a second season ahead of the show’s series premiere next week. The streamer also announced that Aya Cash will join the show in the second season. Season 1 of “The Boys” will debut on July 26. It is based on the New York Times best-selling comic of the same [...]

  • Variety Cord Cutting Placeholder Cable

    Big Blackout Looms as CBS, AT&T Go Down to Wire on Renewal Talks

    A blackout affecting CBS stations in major markets throughout the country looms as CBS and AT&T executives go down to the wire on negotiations for a retransmission consent deal covering 28 O&O stations. The sides have sparred publicly during the past few days as 11 p.m. PT Friday expiration of the previous contract approached. AT&T [...]

  • DEAR WHITE PEOPLE

    TV News Roundup: Netflix Releases Season 3 Trailer For 'Dear White People'

    In today’s TV news roundup, Netflix releases a trailer for the third season of “Dear White People,” and Disney casts Billy Campbell and Kathy Najimy in upcoming Disney Junior series, “The Rocketeer.” CASTING Billy Campbell and Kathy Najimy have joined the cast of forthcoming animated series “The Rocketeer.” The seasoned actors will voice character Kitana [...]

  • Andrew Lincoln as Rick Grimes - The

    Andrew Lincoln's ‘Walking Dead’ Movies to Be Released Only in Theaters

    The first planned movie centered on “The Walking Dead” character Rick Grimes will now run in theaters rather than on AMC. The announcement was made with a brief teaser video played at San Diego Comic-Con on Friday, with the video ending with the words “Only in Theaters.” The film will be distributed by Universal Pictures. [...]

  • Contract Placeholder Business WGA ATA Agent

    ICM Responds to WGA Packaging Lawsuit: Claims are 'Baseless' and 'Absurd'

    ICM Partners has asked a judge to dismiss the lawsuit filed against four major talent agencies by the Writers Guild of America as part of the larger war between agencies and the guild over packaging fees on TV series and movies. The guild sued ICM, CAA, WME and UTA in California state court in April, [...]

  • Jennifer Beals The Last Tycoon

    Jennifer Beals Seeking SAG-AFTRA Board Seat as Matthew Modine Ally (EXCLUSIVE)

    Jennifer Beals is running for a SAG-AFTRA national board seat as a member of presidential candidate Matthew Modine’s progressive Membership First slate. Beals is best known for starring as Bette Porter on the Showtime series “The L Word” and for her lead role as Alex Owens in the 1983 hit “Flashdance.” She’s starred in the [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content