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The Secret of Hidden Lake March 29, 2011

Posted by Rusty in 17-20, the secret of hidden lake, Uncategorized.

This is my second straight review that begins with the words “the secret.” This movie is not as good as the last.

Last year I wrote a review of the series finale of Lost, aka the day I lost faith in serial television. A major complaint I had during that trail of tears through the Hawaiian rain forest was that I had no idea what was going on. I watched every episode intently but I still had no clue what each character wanted. The money quote: “I swear to God I am a smart person and I couldn’t figure out what was happening.”

Maybe I was wildly overestimating my intelligence because I couldn’t figure out The Secret of Hidden Lake either. Or it didn’t make sense. One of those.

The film opens in sepia tones which means FLASHBACK. I love Lifetime expository flashbacks because it means a kid is going to be in some danger. Here we have a father and a daughter on a hunting trip. The daughter wanders off and is assaulted by a mystery man who tells the girl to never tell anyone that he was out there or he would find her and kill her. How the dad missed all this I have no idea.


We then move to present day and that girl, Maggie, is now a community activist in Chicago. She is basically Barack Obama except she has gone hunting before and is therefore a real, red-blooded American. She is also played by Rena Sofer, who can sleep on my sofa-r anytime. (Get it?) (Sex.) But something is wrong…WHO CUT RENA SOFER’S HAIR. He/She must be given a show trial and be summarily shot dead for that crime against humanity.

Anyways, Maggie’s dad was shot and she needs to go back home to rural Colorado. At first the authorities think it was an accident because he was shot with his own gun but that really doesn’t make any sense. Someone tried to murder him. And when you’re sheriff for 23 years, apparently you make some enemies?

Maggie has been out of town for a while and everyone is real quick to remind her that she is a bad person for daring to move to Chicago post-college. Good people stay in their hometowns. Bad people leave! I love that this movie is explicitly claiming that your three humble authors of this blog are in fact monsters. Shots fired!

Because it’s a Lifetime movie and Maggie is a woman, she decides to run her own investigation of what happened to her father. Her first clue is the nosy journalist running an expose on accusations of prisoner abuse being levied against Daddy Dearest. She asks the local diner owner, Sam, about the allegations and oh god is this movie really going to be about corporate espionage?

So The Herald is owned by some shady group called Lorango Corp. Lorango has been buying up land in town and building condos, skiing resorts, and other speculation type dealies. At first the people in town were psyched about the extra jobs and the tourism dollars. But – and boy oh boy as a Cape Codder have I experienced this first hand – the good down-to-earth people of Colorado start bristling at all the outsiders and their newfound dependence on tourism. When they find out Lorango started building new condos without permits, the town and the sheriff freak out and slap them with injunctions. Since then, the Lorango owned paper has been going all Fox News on the sheriff’s ass.

Lifetime is really playing this one by the numbers because Sam isn’t just the local diner owner, he is also Maggie’s high school love. And they haven’t spoken since she permanently moved away. But they still like each other? Seriously, how sad is this for the key Lifetime demographics? Maybe life didn’t work out the way you’d hoped but you can always fantasize about that high school boy you loved before the first kid and the subsequent weight gain. Those were the days.

So Maggie immediately concludes that a corporation tried killing her dad even though he wasn’t sheriff anymore. Her arguments fall on deaf ears. She doesn’t know who she can trust! Sam admits that he wanted to invest in Lorango but didn’t have the liquid capital. Her dad’s best friend, the local judge, remains a huge Lorango investor and was losing his personal fortune because of the sheriff’s stance on the matter. The new sheriff refuses to act on all of Maggie’s whims and is therefore presented as an incompetent. And what’s with the creepy mechanic who is always in the shadows being all creepy?

At some point during a storm, Maggie comes home to find the power is out. She also finds a dude in her house. This leads to a hilarious reaction shot and Maggie falling and hitting her head. She wakes up almost immediately to find Sam looking after her. He claims he was driving by and saw the door open and went in to check on her. Really, Lifetime? Are we really doing this?

The police don’t believe that anyone was really in her house, by the way. You know how hysterical women can get when it’s dark.

So here’s where the movie starts to lose me. Maggie finds out the Sheriff took out a second mortgage worth $25,000 and no one knows why. She also finds out that he retired because the entire town thinks he murdered some scumbag that beat the crap out of his son and got away with it. Maggie finds the medical reports and videotaped interrogation of the suspect and FOR NO REASON AT ALL it turns out the child abuser is also the person that grabbed Maggie 20 years ago.

Maggie does some more investigating and finds a series of calls made to an abandoned hotel in the outskirts of town. She shows up there and gets a phone call from a cobwebby pay phone. It’s the voice of the child abusin’ Maggie grabber! When she sprints out of there the large van that’s been trailing her almost hits her.

Seriously, what? Why!?

After a while I guess people figure out that The Sheriff never killed the child abuser, he just paid him $25,000 to leave town and never come back. And the guy in the van is actually his son/victim looking to protect Maggie. And Sam is following her too, also for protection?

The bad guy attacks Maggie and gets shot dead by The Sheriff’s judge friend shoots him dead but with his dying breath he tells Maggie that The Judge is the one who shot The Sheriff. Maggie gets rescued by Sam and The Son.

It’s left unanswered how The Judge managed to do this. The movie makes a point that whoever shot The Sheriff must have been trusted since he was shot with his own gun. But then the movie makes a point that The Sheriff didn’t trust whoever he was meeting so he brought the gun for protection. Well, which is it? It can’t be both!

The Sheriff wakes up and Maggie tells him she’s home. Haha, suck it, poor people of Chicago. Maggie only cares about white people problems now.


Some terrible, terrible acting here. Sam needs to win whatever the opposite of an Emmy is. (I think the opposite of an Emmy is an actual Emmy.) And poor Rena Sofer. Your reaction faces are hilarious.

Acting aside, it’s clear this movie made no sense, right?


Rena Sofer was the paralyzed wife in Heroes and is a long standing celebrity crush of mine until some asshole cut her hair. The Judge was played by The Cigarette Smoking Man from The X-Files.


I joked earlier that this one really played it by the numbers. The one minority in the the town was the lone police officer (granted, American Indian, not black). There is a high school love left behind for a better tomorrow. Women’s intuition. Even conversations with Ghost Coma Dad!




1. Kate - March 29, 2011

I can’t believe you wrote a recap that included many references to shooting a sheriff but never once discussed whether anyone did or did not shoot a deputy. What a missed opportunity! Otherwise, fun read.

2. london - March 29, 2011

I second kate! Also this movievsounds crazy confusing why didn’t the whereof arrest the child abuse and why pay him 25000? Why is child abusers son following Maggie? Why can’t anything in this movie make sense?

3. london - March 29, 2011

Okay….whereof should be sherriff….stupid autocorrect on my phone.

4. hrh king friday xiii, ret. - March 31, 2011

The Judge shot the sherrif because he was being bribed by the corporations but couldn’t lift the injunctions while the Sherrif was still alive. He was also the flashback molsestor, the third gunman, the Loch Ness Monster, and resposnible for erasing the Nixon tapes.

5. London - April 2, 2011

Okay…it’s all of a sudden becoming much more clear…and the Lock Ness monster exhibit at the Nixon library makes a LOT more sense now

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