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  • I had been wanting to see this movie when I saw it previewed on the USA channel, and when it finally came on,I got to watch it. And, I was surprised! It was a good thriller/horror/comedy film. Although, it wasn't much of a comedy. Judd Nelson (The Breakfast Club) and Hedy Burres (Valentine) were great!!! It was an excellent T.V. movie. I still haven't seen the sequel "Return to Cabin By the Lake". All in all, it was a good film that I give an 8 out of 10. :)
  • dukevega31 August 2002
    In my opinion, most movies of this sort sink or swim (pardon the pun) based on the villain, and everyone else kind of falls to the wayside. This one swam. This villain was bad (as he should be), yes, but what I liked about Stan is that he really enjoyed his work, and I can somewhat relate to him as I have been dabbling with screenwriting myself. Judd Nelson played him just right, really giving the impression of a regular guy just trying to do his job.

    Some other reviewers have questioned the genre classification of this film, and I'd just like to throw in my two cents. I looked up the individual who wrote this film, and he was a guy who had been in Hollywood for a while, so I'm thinking given the whole subplot with Stan's agent and the director, that this may be a dark (VERY dark) satire of Hollywood and the people who try to make a living in that town, much like "Swimming With Sharks", another fine film.

    Some other reviewers complained about a lack of explanation as to why Stan does what he does, but I am not one of them. I'm sure Stan had a motive that made sense for him, and those last two words are what is key here: FOR HIM. Sure, we'd all like a reason for what he did, but the makers of this film are under absolutely NO OBLIGATION to tell us what it is. Personally, it made me wonder about his motives, and I found that much more refreshing than whatever motivation that might have been revealed. I mentioned that I am dabbling in screenwriting and one of the books I picked up said that as long as the screenwriter knows why his characters do things, that's all that matters. No one else has to know.

    Good well-played villain, a darkly humorous look at the Hollywood system, and some wickedly funny moments add up to a worthwhile film.
  • eepiwee3 February 2002
    I'll tell ya, I feel sorry for Judd Nelson and all the bad rap he gets; as far as his performance in this movie goes, he totally maintains the mood. Cabin by the Lake is a made-for-tv movie originally aired on USA, however, I now own it and it's sequel on dvd. ( If you're looking to hand out oscars you might consider overlooking this one, but if you're looking to be entertained (as cheesily as possible) this is it! I thoroughly enjoyed this movie, everything is quirky from the acting to the music. The underwater scenes were done quite nicely, and the soundtrack isn't so bad either...however it's hard to find any other song from the movie other than "Cure" by the Wild Colonials. If you're a fan of Judd Nelson, serial killer movies, and overall cheesy fun, you'll be sure to add this flick to your collection so you can watch it over and over again. If you liked this movie, check out it's sequel...Return to Cabin by the's really DEEP! ;)
  • One of the better made for tv movies I've ever seen. Nelson gives a nice creepy performance. I found the story very interesting and different and the visuals were enough to make me squirm. I'm sure there are some who will complain about the very end of the film, but personally I like that sort of thing.:) I would have liked to have seen a few more of his "garden" getting collected, but with all the commercials they have to put in I know their time is limited. Since this is on tv, I think it is well worth the time to stop and watch. And I hope it comes to video, because I would like to add it to my collection.
  • Warning: Spoilers
    I thought Cabin By The Lake was an excellent movie. I loved how Judd Nelson acted through the whole film, he did such a great job. I'm not saying that what his character was doing was okay, cause, really its not. But it kept me watching, it kept my eyes focused, he was never hurt, he never died no matter what he had to be put through, even when everyone thought he had "drowned" , I did too, until I found out he was alright.I loved how at the very end, it kept me interested at what he was going to be up to next. I'm not a fan of scary movies, I was floored when I watched this movie and found that it wasn't scary, from the reviews of this film, i was sure it was to be scary, but there wasn't a scene i found frightening.
  • This movie is great. I first saw it Aug 13, 2000, 5:00pm, and it was then that I first realized that I love this film. Since watching this movie three years ago, I have discovered my true passion, writting, and it was inspired by this film. True, it is a strange place to find inspiration, but something about it made me want to write for the rest of my life. The ending is somewhat reminecent of Psycho, the synister stare into the camera and I love it, it still sends chills down my spine when I see Judd Nelsons final stare. Unfourtunatly, the sequel was terribly written. They should have went with the idea of burring the girls alive for the sequel, which is perfectly forshadowed at the end of the first one, but unfourtunatly ignored.
  • This is a wonderful movie. I was at first doubtful of whether or not this would be an even tolerable movie, I'm usually wary of "Network Movie Originals." The directing is wonderful and Judd Nelson is a great actor who adds much depth (pardon the pun) and credibility to the character. Judd Nelson is a diversified actor who takes on his roles for various reasons. He chose this project based on the director, and for good reason. The movie follows the "Garden" of a screen-play writer, Stanley (Judd Nelson), who decides to act out his plot to give it more feeling. The garden he is growing is a meticulously kept underwater cemetery of his victims. They are all female and fairly young. His proposed last victim is a girl with a fear of water that he discovers at a movie theater. He immediately realizes that this girl is more than he has dealt with before. The sound track adds to the over all feel of the movie. The directing reminds me of David Lynch, but with much more cohesion. The movie has an over all dark and somber feel, but at the same time is very beautiful; the underwater scenes are stunning and surreal. While this movie is somewhat macabre and tragic, it is by no means a horror. To classify it as such would be to misunderstand the "motivation" behind both the movie and Stanley.
  • Warning: Spoilers
    Entertaining and amusing tale of a horror writer who researches a character in his book by living out their demented life. He kidnaps young women, drowns them, sinks them to the bottom of a lake, and tends to them like flowers, referring to them as his 'garden'. The whole underwater premise is pretty original. one I have not seen in a movie before or since, so kudos to that.

    The underwater sequences are disturbing, and the whole concept is a creepy one. Well acted, well scripted, and with a penchant for dark humour, this is one most horror fans will appreciate, even though the gore and violence is kept to a minimum.

    A good movie.
  • Warning: Spoilers
    Warning: Possible spoilers!!!

    Judd Nelson delivers a captivating performance as Stanly. A seemingly quiet writer working on a screenplay about a serial killer who kidnaps teenage girls, drowning them, and then visiting their dead bodies in his "Garden of flesh." Stanly's only problem is that he's developed writer's block and isn't sure how to add that certain touch of "realism" to his screenplay. To fix this dilemma, Stanly ultimately becomes the Sadistic killer in his screenplay to gain ideas to perfect is "work of art." For Stanly, all seems to be going well... until he meats his match. Malory.

    Malory is a smart, outgoing girl with a strong will and one major weakness... She's afraid of water! What would happen if you mixed true fear with a true phobia? A perfect twist to his story! Stanly sees Malory as the perfect opportunity to complete his "Garden" and his screenplay.

    Stanly kidnaps her and let's Malory sink down into the lake's dark water. He rides away on his boat. As far as he's concerned his screenplay is finished. What he doesn't know, however, is that he dropped her right over some deep water divers. Malory is saved by the deputy sheriff and out of harms way...For now. What will happen when Stanly realizes she's gone? watch the movie and find out.
  • Warning: Spoilers

    Cabin by the Lake is an unusual TV movie that has an addictive quality to it due to the presence of Judd Nelson. Not only is Nelson a quirky villain, but he's the guy you're rooting for. You just can't help it. He's the only character who isn't two dimensional. Cabin has a great story too. Nelson plays a screenwriter doing research on his next film. The film, Garden of Flesh, is about a stalker who drowns his victims and leaves their bodies lying at the bottom of a lake. So Nelson does the exact same thing. You gotta wonder if Kevin Williamson does this type of stuff too. Cabin is a different variety of slasher with a good sense of humor and the ability to laugh at itself and the sub-genre. You should find yourself laughing too because Nelson has some good one liners. Thumbs up on a made-for-television movie that is better than expected. If you haven't seen it, you should be in for a surprise. I can't be this kind to the sequel however.

    "I'm the guy your mother warned you about."
  • I have to admit, this movie truly did shock me. Within the first five minutes you'll feel totally engrossed by the plot. Most movies will lay it on you in bits and pieces , this one just hammers you immediately then leaves you wondering whats going to happen next.

    The audio the video quality was outstanding for what looked like a lower budget film, but the full-screen only DVD bothered me. I'm guessing it was transfered this way because it was originally intended for TV. There was a double DVD released not long ago (Cabin by the Lake, Return to the Cabin by the lake) which can be found at and can also be rented at Blockbuster incase you are interested. (see link at bottom of review for direct Amazon page)

    Overall , Judd Nelson does a fantastic job as the main role, the plot wasn't all that thick and sometimes was predictable, but always kept you wondering "Are they next?".

    Movie Link :
  • Warning: Spoilers
    really, i don't know why some were disappointed in this film. i happened to love it but usually if a critic says it sucks than everyone believes the critic. judd nelson's acting was terrific and he definitely played off that two sided character thing really well. and the relationship between him and mallory was also another strong point. it was like a hannibal/clarice relationship and at the end when it looks like stanley is going to drown himself you can really see the sympathy mallory feels for him. what's there not to like? maybe his annoying agent could make make the film better by just being cut from the film but it was good overall. go see it and don't believe the critics!
  • buffbabe232 February 2002
    My comments? Simple: I loved the movie Cabin by the Lake. This is a wonderful TV movie and a great way to spend a couple of hours. - Yes, the plot is a little unrealistic- a writer doing some "research" for his horror film by actually drowning women and then writing about it. But aren't movies supposed to be unrealistic? - I recommend that you watch Cabin by the Lake. Go ahead and give it a chance, you may be surprised. If you like it, then I definitely recommend that you watch the sequel Return to Cabin by the Lake, which I thought was even better than the first film.
  • I consider myself one of the last true lovers of the great B-movies. That being said, I find it odd that I dislike this movie as much as I do. The acting is atrocious, the sets are too sterile to be believed, the music is generic at best...I would go on, but I'd feel as though I was rambling. It seemed like a good thriller plot line, but throw in horrible direction, second-rate actors, and a crew that I wouldn't let film my kid's football game, and you get what we have here. On the plus side, the girls in the film are very lovely, and the underwater shots are done well enough. The underlying humor is probably enough to warrant a boring Sunday afternoon's TV viewing, but I certainly would not pay to own such a stinker of a film.
  • i never made a comment on a movie, this is the 1st and may be the last, this movie is awful, the writer ,the script and the director made this film for the goofy audience, i've seen many thrill movies , sometimes you are not thrilled that much and you get a little frustrated but this one makes you angry, goofy scenario. Serial killer with no convincing motive , idiot policeman who leaves the only witness in a motel room beside the crime scene without anyone guarding her, and of course the killer returns and easily re kidnap her ...God i cant believe this, and the killer just vanishes and not once but twice with the same way. serial killer who killed 6 or 7 victims and the police deals with it as if he is a laundry thief or something!! this is what i can say, so do not bother and spend 2 hours watching this.
  • Punk1916 July 2005
    Warning: Spoilers
    What was going through the directors head when he made this? Must have been "This will make everyone think twice." Because this movie defines the law of crime. No this isn't a movie to just pop into a VCR or DVD player and watch with your boyfriend. Because the movie is just plain crap. Nothing makes since.

    Oh a guy goes around killing ladies for fun and for a book idea. So what. What do you want to do when you watch this? Sleep, sleep and sleep. This movie is a sleeper. Nothing original at all. Even the sequel is horrible. I wouldn't recommend this to anyone. Not even a child will understand this crappish movie.
  • Warning: Spoilers
    I do like Cabin by the Lake because the general storyline is actually pretty cool. Of course, it's a made-for-TV movie, so a lot of it truly isn't "that" plausible and some of the acting is a bit cheesy and over-dramatic. But I still like it (I think part of why I like it is because it takes me back to my senior year in high school!).

    The "writer acts out his story" thing has been done before, but not in this unique "garden" way. That part makes the movie intriguing. Still, parts of the movie seem corny because characters try to make silly jokes or whatever - I would have much rather had it be more serious and delete the silly stuff.

    What you really have to see is "Return to Cabin by the Lake" (the sequel). It's HILARIOUS because a fair amount of the movie must have been filmed with a basic video camera! Thus, part of the movie is high quality, part normal video camera. I can't take the second one seriously because of this, but it was still worth watching.
  • Warning: Spoilers
    Easily one of the best movies ever. Judd Nelson has the perfect creepy guy personae for the serial killer in the movie. So the basic premise of the movie is, Judd Nelson plays a screenplay writer who is writing this movie about girls that are drowned and then he tends to the garden of dead girls. This movie is a psychological thriller, you never know what is going to happen next. They also allude to so much in it as well, for example he is talking to his agent and she is telling him to get rid of the girl, so he says, "Fine I'll drown the girl," so what does he do? He drowns the girl. There is a little bit of everything in this movie, I think Judd Nelson's finest work.
  • I have seen this movie many times and enjoy it every time. The sequel is not too bad either but the first one is definitely better. I thought the plot was very good. It was much better than someone getting their head chopped off every 5 minutes. I especially loved the music, it is as creepy as the movie. Definitely my kind of movie and my kind of music. I thought the underwater scenes very good, pretty realistic. It wasn't until i watched it again recently that I realized the actor that played the deputy was on the current TV show Navy NCIS and what a cutie he is. I have always loved Judd Nelson and he can play the crazy guy with the best.
  • I enjoyed the movie then again i am a sucker for these kind of movies.. in this one Stanley is a, quoted from the sequel, "missunderstood genuis".. But i guess its one of the movies that you have to enjoy the physcological things to get it and to enjoy it.

    As for the second one, like most sequels, its not the best.. it seems (and i am watching it as i type this) in return to cabin by the lake, Stanley has lost some of his "vision" and it just more interested it getting revenge on the directors, producers, ect. for butchering his script...
  • Even if you did not enjoy this movie, you must admit it is far better than most of the mindless drone that passes for a tv movie (i.e. the entire Lifetime channel rotation). Most all tv movies are atrocious but this was the type that was good in a bad way. Judd Nelson was absolutely perfect as Stanley, nailing even the campiest of dialogue. You could compare his believability to that of William Petersen's in 'Beast'. You can only judge an actor by how well they play in a terrible movie. The rest of the cast I really could do without, but they only serve to make him look better. Also, the water scenes were painfully beautiful in a sick way...

    I would have to disagree with the commentator who said Stanley's killing for research was implausible. Au contraire, If you write screenplays, like I do, you can understand that. No, we generally do not become serial killers but on the whole we can be very irrational about the lengths we go to to achieve our goals. We really are all crazy ;-)

    And to the commentator Tom: The drowning of girls was not meant to be humorous. And please do not get offended because, let's face it, you are not a woman...
  • Saw the movie a few nights ago on the Sci-Fi network...Terrific and great actions in the movie. The Scenery was cool. Kind of makes you wonder about people in a way....I really enjoyed the movie and the actors and actresses really outdid themselves in a very convincing way. Thumbs up for this one.....really confirms my fear of water over my head now! LOL!
  • This was, by far, the absolute worst movie I have seen in my entire life. I have seen many, many movies, and this is quite possibly the most horrendous of all. My friend and I turned it on at 12 am, and couldn't stop watching it, it was that bad. Had it been just a little less awful, we may have been able to turn it off. It was kind of like watching a car accident - you know you shouldn't stare, but you just can't look away. To anyone desiring to ever see this friend and I would strongly advise you to find a better activity, but if you watch it, you will be able to fully appreciate true cinematic garbage.
  • I think it was awsome some people dont give Judd Nelson the credit he deserves and thats wrong. He has made so many movies, shows and so on. He trys to give you intertainment and you judge him. But all i wanted to say is it was great, inspiring, and exciting. Judd i give you 100% at this film. I might be 13 but you are a great actor.
  • Cabin by the lake was pure crap! I read the tagline for it, and I thought it might be good, but was I wrong! Judd Nelson's character was on the borderline of funny at the start of the movie, but then he became amazingly annoying! Cabin by the lake was beyond phony, they may have had a few good dummies on the set, but the whole aura of the movie was fakes-ville. Don 't watch cabin by the lake past the first half-hour!
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