Ray Pye and his two friends (Jennifer and Tim) are out in the woods drinking and fooling around, Ray goes off to relieve himself when he comes across a naked woman who looks embarrassed and explains she didn't know anyone else was around. Ray secretly follows her to another naked woman sunbathing, she obviously tells her friend that there's other people about as they both get dressed. Ray goes back to his friends and tells them about what he's seen, he talks about how perfect their bodies are which clearly annoys Jennifer who appears jealous. Jennifer insists that they should just go home as all the beers are gone, but it's very clear that in this group what Ray says goes. What I can only assume is a couple of hours later as bright daylight has been replaced by night, the three friends watch the two girls from a distance. The girls are there as it appears one of them has broken up with an abusive partner. When Ray witnesses one of the girls attempt to comfort the other, he assumes that they're lesbians and suggests they kill them. Moments later a shot rings out and blood splatters as Ray and his rifle feed his new found bloodlust, in no time at all one of the girls is dead and the other badly wounded. Ray talks Tim into taking Jennifer to his storage shed to get spades to bury the bodies, Ray then proceeds to eat the girls food and start packing up their camping equipment, when he suddenly realises that the wounded girl has gone. He chases after the girl but stops when she makes it to the road and a car stops, Ray stops in his tracks and the girl is helped into the car and the screen fades to black.
4 years later and Detective Schilling is in a bar knocking back whiskeys, he tells his former partner that the girl had died after a 4 year fight on life support. The two had worked on the case and were convinced Ray Pye was the killer, but with no evidence the case has remained unsolved. After a visit to the girls mother, he sees that see has become an alcoholic and her life is a mess. Detective Schilling starts to put pressure on Ray, he makes it obvious that he knows Ray killed the girls. Ray who is now in a sexual relationship with Jennifer, starts seeing a girl called Katherine and also chases after Sally who works at his mothers motel. With Schilling piling on the pressure and more than one of the women rejecting him, his grip on sanity starts slipping and it's a matter of time before his killing spree continues.
The acting took me by surprise, nearly every cast member gives good performances. Marc Senter as Ray was excellent for the most part, despite his looks and frame he gives an intimidating and often creepy performance. Shay Astar and Alex Frost do decent jobs as Jennifer and Tim, they spend most of the film cowering to Ray. The standout for me personally was Michael Bowen as Detective Schilling, he dominates every scene he's in and plays the role of the man who knows Ray is guilty but can't prove it to perfection. Two scenes in particular when he talks to Ray in the motel, and again when he's breaking up a party Ray is throwing are superbly acted. Robin Sydney is possibly a little miscast, but still produces a worthy performance. Ed Lauter is good as Schillings ex partner, and horror legend Dee Wallace makes a quick appearance as the murdered girls alcoholic and distraught mother. It's really well directed by Chris Sivertson, he followed this up the following year with the appalling Lindsay Lohan vehicle I Know Who Killed Me. If you've seen I Know Who Killed Me I could fully understand you being put off by The Lost, but it really is superior in every way and shouldn't be avoided purely down to that. Everything is well done for a low budget feature, it doesn't look cheap, the editing, cinematography and pace are all good. I really liked the small town setting. The soundtrack was a little annoying at times, suddenly loud, fast music would blast out and I found it jarring, but it's a small quibble. The girls are very attractive and show a bit of boob here and there, the blood and gore is absent after the first 10 minutes up until the final 15 minutes or so, but it's well done.
The film is based on the Jack Ketchum novel of the same name, i've never read the novel so I don't know how closely it sticks to it. The Lost is the fourth film i've seen based on Jack Ketchum's novels, and i've really enjoyed them all. The Girl Next Door, Red and to a lesser degree Offspring are all worth checking out, I haven't seen The Woman yet but i've heard nothing but praise for it from people I know. There's a distinct lack of extras on the disc, a very enjoyable commentary from Jack Ketchum where he mostly talks about his relationship with the director's who have filmed his novels, and there's the auditions from a few of the actors in the film.
The Lost is much more a drama than a horror, so be careful if you are buying this for a good scare. Not much actually happens after the murder of the two girls in the first fifteen minutes, until the point when Ray finally snaps. Some may find it slow and boring for about an hour in the middle, I thought there was more than enough character development and the well above average acting ensured I was never bored. Any fans of the other films based on Jack Ketchum's novels should like this, if you've read and loved the book then as usual the film may not live upto it but I wouldn't know having not read it. There is only English subtitles, so if you require subtitles in any other language you're out of luck.