Sunday, October 14, 2018

Movie Review: "Lake Placid" (1999)

Director: Steve Miner
Year: 1999
Rating: R
Running Time: 1 hour, 22 minutes

A group of people tries to stop a giant crocodile that has been killing the local citizens of a small town in Maine.

Lake Placid 1999 horror movie still Bridget Fonda Bill Pullman Brendan Gleeson
"What's it like to be a woman in the woods of Maine? I mean, the guys don't turn all horny or anything like they did in Deliverance, right?" (Image Source)
Ah, the classic story of man versus nature. Of course, in "Lake Placid," nature comes in the form of a 30-foot crocodile. This mega-monster movie is directed by Steve Miner, who has directed other such horror films as "Friday the 13th: Part 2," "Warlock," and "Halloween H20." It is written by David E. Kelly, who has written movies like "To Gillian on Her 37th Birthday" and "Mystery, Alaska," but is probably better known for his extensive television writing credits. People from a small Maine town outside of Lake Placid start getting killed by an unknown creature in the water. Local sheriff Hank Keough (Brendan Gleeson), Department of Fish and Wildlife agent Jack Wells (Bill Pullman), and a paleontologist from the New York's Museum of Natural History named Kelly Scott (Bridget Fonda) set out to discover what sort of creature is responsible for these murders. They are later joined by a wealthy adventurer named Hector Cyr (Oliver Platt), who believes he knows exactly what this mysterious being is: a massive crocodile. Turns out, Hector may very well be right...well, he is right because we know it's a crocodile from the very beginning...hell, there's even a crocodile on the poster.
Lake Placid 1999 horror movie still crocodile eating cow
"Going back in history, crocodiles have been more worshipped than Jesus." (Image Source)
"Lake Placid" is a tongue-in-cheek horror comedy that's more interested in making the audience chuckle than it is making them scared of its gigantic reptilian antagonist. Sure, there's an occasion where this croc jumps out of the water and bites the head of an unsuspecting victim, but these moments are often over-the-top and played as dark slapstick as opposed to being frightening. There's also a lot of humor in the dialogue, mostly coming from either Betty White's foul mouth (for the few brief moments she's on-screen), or the outrageous arguments that the human characters are always engaged in as the bloviating egos of Hank Keough (Gleeson), Hector Cyr (Platt), and Jack Wells (Pullman) clash on more than one occasion. Speaking of the characters, there is no one more annoying than Bridget Fonda's Kelly Scott. She has got to be one of the most useless female characters in all of film history. She serves no real purpose other than to be the constant complainer, whining about the nature of how stuff sucks every three minutes. Kelly is always falling over and has to be rescued time and time again by any of the males who are graciously willing to lend her a hand because they all want to bone her because apparently, they have never seen a woman before. It gets grating really fast, and we wish Fonda had gotten better material to work with.
Lake Placid 1999 horror movie still crocodile helicopter
"Nobody lives on this lake. It's really his lake now." (Image Source)
Despite the cliched damsel-in-distress character and its constant slapstick, "Lake Placid" does have some entertaining moments. Some of the crocodile effects are decent considering the era in which it was released, and the picture overall does have a few flashes of fun and excitement. Still, the human flaws vastly overshadow and outweigh the neat horrific elements. As such, we can't really recommend this croc-centric horror comedy.

My Rating: 5/10
BigJ's Rating: 5/10
IMDB's Rating: 5.7/10
RT Rating: 41%
Do we recommend this movie: Meh.

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