"The Loch Ness Horror" (2023)

by Joseph Perry and Mike Imboden

In our “The Good, the Bad, and the Verdict” film reviews, Joseph and Mike give their thoughts on a slice of cinema. For this installment, it’s a giant monster thriller, The Loch Ness Horror by Tyler-James and Dark Abyss Productions.

A group is sent to discover what happened to a recently lost ship, only to discover the horror that awaits them lurking below.

The Good
Joseph: I had fun whenever Nessie appeared on screen, and the cold open showed a lot of promise. The CGI effects for the creature were pretty decent. If Nessie were really the size portrayed in this film and living in Loch Ness — she’s roaming the high seas here — she would have been discovered easily eons ago . . . and that’s another reason I found the legendary cryptid so amusing here. Rather than a shy beast that is pretty savvy about avoiding cameras and humans, here she is an enraged, hungry carnivore intelligent enough to know when ships and submersibles are searching for her — and she knows well how to stalk and destroy them. The performances have quite the range here, with May Kelly, Lila Lasso, and Becca Hirani giving some of the stronger ones. There’s some dramatic tension between the scientists who initially think they are trying to discover what happened to a missing ship and the rest of the crew members who have secret, nefarious plans. This angle is familiar but pulled off well here.

Mike: Readers who followed us from our Uphill Both Ways podcast will know that Joseph and I are captivated by cryptids like Bigfoot and Nessie.  So, even though we knew we weren’t getting a huge budget, tentpole, blockbuster, we were both looking forward to what The Loch Ness Horror had to deliver.
The creature design is quite menacing, mashing up the traditional look of Scotland’s favorite creature with a bit more of a monstrous mouth and razor sharp teeth - kind of like a barracuda.  Despite being CGI, there are some impressive shots of the beast attacking, its long neck extending skyward before shooting its head down to do some damage.  Squaring off against the titular creature is a mix of scientists and members of a boat crew (who have a decommissioned (?) warship as their vessel of choice), whilst trying to discover what happened to a previous two-person crew that went off the radar.  Of course we already know their fate thanks to a fun and fairly tension-filled opening scene that gives us a nice, early, and long look at the sea creature.  Being as the lure of a monster was what brought me here, this opening was one of my favorite parts of the film.

The Bad
Joseph: Not really bad but seemingly unnecessary is the romantic angle between two of the crew members, as it doesn’t really add much in the way of extra tension. As I mentioned above, the performances range, and there are a couple of cast members who seem to be doing their best to simply deliver their memorized lines. There’s an additional creepy crawly — it’s emergence is straight out of Alien — that again has decent CGI rendering and is meant to add tension but if the filmmakers are sticking with CGI, why not just have a few more Nessie scenes instead? Some crew members didn’t learn their lesson when the cryptid plucked the first of them off the deck for munching, as rather than staying within the somewhat safer confines of the craft, they wandered outside and made themselves easy targets. The ending is certainly something, and I’ll leave it at that to avoid spoilers.

Mike: First of all, how in the ever-loving @#$% did the Loch Ness Monster get out into the North Sea?  Yes, there’s a river connecting the famous loch with open waters, but it’s nowhere near wide enough to accommodate a creature the size of the one depicted here in The Loch Ness Horror. There’s suspension of disbelief and then there’s being asked to ignore things we learn in second grade.
Strike one.
Strike two comes in the form of some horrendous acting.  While a few of the actors do a decent enough job with what they’re given, the majority are seemingly here at the promise of a paycheck and an after party as they deliver their lines in monotone voices with the inflection of a shrubbery. 
The third and final strike was when it basically turned into Alien with the crew members and scientists having to deal with some kind of little Nessie that gestated inside of one of their own.  This added threat was clearly added because a film without some tension inside of the boat would have left director Tyler-James with about a 20 minute movie.
An honorary strike (a foul ball if I stick with the strikes metaphor) should be given to the insane speed at which the scientists fall prey to the Stockholm Syndrome, fearing for, caring for, and tending to the scofflaws who presented the most immediate threat to their safety.

The Verdict
Joseph: The Loch Ness Horror is certainly not without flaws, but I was entertained throughout and the CGI effects for Nessie were solid considering the film’s limited budget. Creature feature fans should find this offering to be a pleasant surprise, especially if they are in the mood for some simple B-movie fun that follows some familiar beats. 

Mike: I always thought The Asylum had a lock on “mockbusters” and/or poorly acted, bad films, but look out - Uncork’d Entertainment apparently said “Hold my beer” and decided to give them a run for their money.
Free advice: If you’re going to make a giant monster movie, give it more than a few total minutes of screen time.  Also ensure your actors can emote and deliver their lines with more range than a corpse.
Look man, I get that this wasn’t supposed to be a huge affair and I’ll probably be accused of not being the target audience.  To those folks I will say that that is where you’re wrong.  It’s specifically that I AM the target audience that makes me so intolerant of poorly conceived and presented stuff like this.
Watch at your own risk, because after all, your mileage - as they say - may vary.

The Loch Ness Horror
, from Uncork’d Entertainment, is available via digital and VOD as of November 7th, 2023

The Loch Ness Horror
Directed By: Tyler-James
Written By: Tyler-James
Starring:  May Kelly, Lila Lasso, Becca Hirani
Run Time:  1h 18m
Rating: NR
Release Date: November 7th, 2023