Two swimmers enter the water, one returns to shore, and a curious onlooker can’t help but fall head over heels for the murderer. Why fret over indiscriminate, unprotected sex when there’s a gay serial killer on the prowl? Set entirely in a remote, shimmering French lakeside retreat that doubles as a cruising bacchanal, this stylishly sordid French thriller takes its time at first; if only the story began unclosing as quickly at the characters became unclothed. Characters returning the camera’s gaze like hungry animals staring back from inside zoo cages adds much needed comic relief, while the absence of music contributes to the film’s natural beauty. No prude here, Alain Guiraudie’s Stranger by the Lake proves once again that hardcore pornography and narrative cinema don’t mix, as the graphic sex scenes exist only to arouse and titillate, not to inform or advance the plot. Once things get going, you’re in for a fairly chilling ride. (2014) — Scott Marks
This movie is not currently in theaters.