The first non main feature to hit the Halloween Marathon this year is of one of my favorite horror sub genres: Creature Features! I love them to bits and I’m pretty forgiving of them. I’ve never seen Lake Placid although I’d heard about it before. I’ve watched spiders and sharks and even octopuses but never giant crocodiles so this seems like it can be lots of fun.
Enough talking! Let’s go!
Lake Placid (1999)
Director: Steve Miner
Cast: Bridget Fonda, Bill Pullman, Oliver Platt, Brendan Gleeson, Betty White, David Lewis
A group attempts to destroy a giant, 30-foot-long man-eating crocodile, which terrorizes Black Lake, Maine.-IMDB
Its starting to feel like Maine is the center of a lot of horror movies or even places close to it. Maybe its because Carrie was also based in somewhere in Maine that I say that. It just feels that way. Lake Placid is not really Lake Placid but rather they actually mention that where this went down, they wanted to call it Lake Placid but the name was somewhere else so its called Black Lake now. Lake Placid is a fun movie to watch just like most creature features are, unless they are just being way stupid or boring. The cast is fun and the dialogue is acceptable. There are some silly moments but it does also create some genuinely tense moments and equally some comedic parts. I’m not too harsh on it because I enjoyed the characters but it could also be because I’ve grown to be forgiving and expect characters to make stupid decisions and rather predictable deaths. Is it a horrible creature feature? Not by a long shot.
Remember last year, I did the whole Friday the 13th series for Halloween. Part 2 is one of my faves in that series and guess who the director is- the same guy as this one. I guess thats why I like the style of it. There are some jump scares, some tense moments and in the Black Lake, its rather mysterious in some shots. They try to make you think there’s something when there isn’t and the twist is pretty funny about the reason of why the 30 foot crocodile chooses to stay there. And that ending was hilarious and so obvious that they wanted to bank on the possibility of having a sequel, which I’ve learned has 3 sequels? I’m not sure but at a quick glance at IMDB, its there.
One of the props does go out to the crocodile scenes being incredibly believable. I mean, okay, eye to eye with the crocodile, maybe you won’t be so calm and there was a scene like that. And that crocodile was pretty smart. And I had to do a little research to see if they actually used a real crocodile. Sounds stupid because it was in fact designed (which was expected) but it was fairly real. Even the reactions and the movements. While we never caught the crocodile close up until the end for longer moments, and the underwater scene seemed like those rehashed and repeated scenes as it went through the dark water, it still worked fairly well.
As for the cast and their characters, this was incredibly well for what it is. I wonder about its budget. Brendan Gleeson is a great actor along with a personal favorite of mine being Bill Pullman, especially in the 90s, he was in a lot of random movies. I don’t think I’ve seen Bridget Fonda anywhere before but she’s good. Alongside that, the best parts that led to some comedic moments was the bickering between Brendan Gleeson’s character versus the “crocodile specialist” of the group played by Oliver Platt. The different views and beliefs about crocodiles and the desire for Bridget Fonda’s character to break out on this “adventure” while having some underwater expeditions and whatnot made this decent.
Overall, I had a lot of fun with Lake Placid and I think that for a creature feature, its really not too bad. There are the expected bad or clunky dialogue and there are stupid decisions to be made. Even so, the crocodile was done well and the sequences built to a point that I had a few thrills at the end despite the stupid decision they all had. Then that final ending scene right before the credits was pretty hilarious even if it forced a possibility for a sequel. Its definitely worth more than the 30 something % that Rotten Tomatoes gave it.
Have you seen Lake Placid? What did you think of it?