Tuesday, February 14, 2023

The Hooked Horror of Valentines Day: Lovers Lane (1999)

Lovers Lane (1999) (AKA "I'm Still Waiting For You")
Rating: **1/2
Starring: Diedre Kilgore, Carter Roy and Brian Allemand

When Wes Craven's Scream (1996) revitalized the slasher craze for a whole new generation of horror fans to enjoy back in the late 90s, it's not far off that the straight-to-video market would cash in to the success and have these considerably less-funded and roughly polished productions grace our video players and small screen tubes with sometimes-competent-sometimes-not video titles such as this rare teen holiday horror, Lovers Lane (1999).

Opening "thirteen years ago" with a take on a well-known urban legend, we watch a horny couple at the titular make-out doing all sorts of risqué canoodling before they're suddenly terrorized by a maniac armed with a hook. The kids soon escape from their tormentor to raise the alarm, but not before discovering to their horror that the two occupants of another nearby car have also fallen victim to the hook-handed menace. 

Flash forward to the present, we now learn that the slaughtered couple were involved in a secret affair behind their spouses' backs, with the woman being the sheriff's wife and the man being the husband of the high school's current principal. A suspect was apprehended that night of the hook murders and, over the years, has been under the watchful eye of the town's psychiatrist, who just happens to be the sheriff's half-brother. The sheriff's daughter, Mandy, was also present at the time they found her mother's mangled corpse and has grown up to be the quite geeky kid that everyone picks on, especially her own half-cousin Chloe, the school's Queen bee-type who's dating the principal's son, Michael. And with it being Valentines Day, Chloe's clique plans a little party at lover's lane and Mandy finds herself roped into the gig when one of the friends got desperate for a date.   

Unbeknownst to these gaggle of youths, the hook-handed killer broke out of an asylum earlier that day (apparently he hated prison food?) and has now made his way back to the make-out point to stalk and slaughter some more teens. After seeing one of their own get murdered in front of them, the gang ends up fleeing to an abandoned farmhouse where the killer proceeds to stalk them one by one, all the while the sheriff and the principal, despite awkwardly knowing that their former spouses were having a go at one another, decided to work together to find and stop the maniac after learning about his escape. 

On one end, Lovers Lane (1999) isn't exactly what you call quality cinema as there's a considerable stint on its budget in terms of lighting and special effects. More often you'll find yourself squinting at some dimly lit scenes to make sense of what you're looking at or who's getting hooked to death, plus a good dose of the kill count is made up of offscreen murders in which bodies are simply found slaughtered. A few characters also fail to be as interesting and important as they're intended to be, sometimes coming off as annoying or ridiculously inept to the point you'd wonder if these certain individuals would get the fatal end of the hook and be disappointed when some of them lived to see the morning after the carnage.

Still, I can attest that there's some fun to be found in this late 90s bodycounter as Lovers Lane's simply embraces the clichés of a slasher plot wholeheartedly and treats us with a back-to-basics dead teenager film. Most of the teen casts are a fun watch with their cheesy high school dramatics and hammy dialogues, with one pre-Scary Movie (2000) Anna Farris appearing as one of Chloe's clique girls who spent the entire film wearing a cheerleader outfit and got snuffed out in the gnarliest way one could with a hook. The third act in the farmhouse has some nice thrilling scenes going for it when the killer starts prowling the place and relentlessly pursue their victims. I could also applaud this film for dishing out one of the better twist reveals I've seen in a slasher, especially when the build-up getting there is as convoluted as this one wherein things like incest and revenge gets thrown in.

Yes, Lovers Lane (1999) is far from a rough hidden gem, but it could worth one's time if you're into bad slashers with a big heart to entertain!

1 male and 1 female found slaughtered with a hook
1 male found murdered
1 male seen murdered with a hook
1 male hacked to death with a hook
1 male found slaughtered with a hook
1 male hacked with a hook
1 female gets a hook to the groin
1 male knifed to death
1 female hit with a car
1 male and 1 female found murdered
1 female had her throat slashed with a hook
1 male repeatedly shot, hook to the back
Total: 14


  1. Maybe the upcoming Arrow Blu-ray will make things a little less murky.

    1. Oh, yeah, heard of that one! Here's hoping to it, mate!