Notable Cast: Bill Pullman, Bridget Fonda, Brendan Gleeson, Oliver Platt, Betty White
For the first film in my "Croc Of Sh!t: Killer Croc/Gator Film Marathon", I had to go back and revisit the film that really brought this sub-genre into the modern age, "Lake Placid." Although the film has significant talent behind it with a great cast, Steve Miner in the director's chair, and the witty writing of David E. Kelly, really the film is nothing more than a big budget B-film. To a film fan like myself, it probably works for the better that way as the film embraces some of the ridiculousness of its plot to make things exciting and fun. It's not really a great film by any means, but it knows how to entertain and it does that well.
The area around Black Lake has been a peaceful area for quite some time. Only a handful of houses exist on the lake front and nature is left there to be itself. When a fish and game officer is torn in half while studying beavers right in front of the local sheriff (Gleeson), a massive investigation ensues. Another fish and game officer (Pullman) is sent to help along with a paleontologist (Fonda) who needs to look at a tooth found at the crime scene. When an eclectic croc hunter (Platt) also shows, the group begins to think that a very large crocodile has found it's way to Maine...and the only natural predator there to stop it may not survive long enough to tell anyone.
"Lake Placid" is an odd hybrid of styles. It's quite obviously an 'adventure' film from how Miner presents the plot, but the film itself is littered with horror elements and slathered in Kelly's quirky character and fast paced comedic wit. In a way, it very much comes off as a fun film that is never meant to be taken seriously and caters to an audience willing to just run with the idea...which in itself is pretty ridiculous. The humor did really work though and the film is populated with enough great off beat neurotic characters that it was almost more fun to watch them bicker than to watch the crocodile try to kill them.
|Top notch special effects help the film seem less ridiculous...|
|As a pilot, this is perhaps my worst fear. Honest.|
Nonetheless, "Lake Placid" is still a fun and quirky film that really does entertain more than impress on many of its levels. The special effects are stellar (the CGI is a bit dated now, but Stan Winston's work is still amazing) and the ridiculousness of some moments is worth the watch. I mean, seriously you get to see a giant croc take out a bear! So go into with a grain of salt, enjoy it for the big budget B movie it is and you'll leave with a smile on your face.
Written By Matt Reifschneider