Lake Placid

08/26/2019 06:53

Film: Lake Placid

Year: 1999

Director: Steve Miner

Writer: David E. Kelley

Starring: Bridget Fonda, Bill Pullman and Oliver Platt



This is another film that I remember when it hit the movie channels. I’ve seen a few times, but I think only twice now all of the way through. This is actually one that picked up by the Sci-Fi Channel so they would show it pretty much all the time. It would also be one I could drop in on the middle and enjoy it. The synopsis is three people attempt to stop a gigantic crocodile, who is terrorizing residents in Black Lake, Maine.

We start this film with Sheriff Hank Keough (Brendan Gleeson) is out in a boat with a deputy. The deputy goes under and checks out what looks like a beaver damn. He is attacked by something and then thrown into the boat with his bottom half missing. Jack Wells (Bill Pullman) is called in from the Fish and Game department of Maine. He thinks that it is a bear that did it, but they soon learn that it is something else.

In New York at a museum there is some discord. Kevin (Adam Arkin) broke up with a paleontologist that is working under him and she’s freaking out. He is married, but it is revealed that he broke up with Kelly Scott (Bridget Fonda), the one freaking out, to get back with Janine (Natassia Malthe) who he was seeing previously. A report comes in and to let things blow over Kevin asks her to go to Maine to check out a tooth they found.

Kelly is quite intrigued when she checks it out and it isn’t a fossil. It is part of a tooth for a large reptile. Together with Jack and Hank, they go out to Black Lake to see what it belonged to. There is only one resident, Mrs. Delores Bickerman (Betty White), who is an eccentric old woman. She isn’t much help.

They go about searching for what killed the deputy and that’s when Hector Cyr (Oliver Platt) shows up. Kelly knows him and she’s shocked, he only goes to where there are crocodiles. That’s what he believes is in these waters. Hank doesn’t buy it and butts heads with him. All they do know there is something large living here and it is big enough to eat moose. Mrs. Bickerman also might know more than she’s letting on.

Now I have to say, this is an interesting creature feature. It takes place in Maine where you don’t expect them to have crocodiles like in the film. The movie does give a decent explanation where I was thinking that it could be possible. I did think that they stick to warmer places. It wasn’t as big an idea in 1999, but they really could have played with the idea that it was global warming. I haven’t seen any of the sequels to my knowledge, so it is possible there.

It is highly unlikely that Kelly would be sent up here to look at this tooth. They know that whatever did it is alive, so a paleontologist doesn’t make sense. I don’t even think a museum would be called. I won’t harp on this too much, but that was something a podcast brought up and having seen this again, that does make sense. I do really like Hector though, being the expert on the animal that he is.

I’m not always the biggest fan of comedy in my horror. I think when it is done right, it can really work. I do have to admit, this film falls into that for me. The banter between Jack, Kelly, Hector and Hank had me literally laughing out loud. Mrs. Bickerman is also quite funny here as well. There is some romance that isn’t overplayed between Jack and Kelly, plus there is an odd back and forth of Hector and Hank as they don’t really get along.

That moves me next to the pacing of the film, which I think it moves along without any issues. It never gets boring and I think a lot of that is due to its 82 minute run time. That’s really good for a creature feature unless you have a great story. This film knows what it is doing and takes advantage. It doesn’t waste any time getting into and it never gets boring to its satisfying conclusion. It actually has me wanting to see the sequels to be honest.

As for the acting, it is more on the comedic side so it’s not great, but it’s not bad. Pullman I think is fine in his role. He is concerned for Kelly, so she is taking him for being sexist. I do have to say I wasn’t overly impressed by Fonda. She seems like they just tried to get some bigger names and at this time, she was still riding her last name. Platt is great and so is Gleeson. They work well off each other. White was also really good in her smaller role. It was interesting to see Meredith Salenger, Malthe and Arkin in their small roles as well, which the rest of the cast rounded out the film for what was needed.

This is in the era of films where the CGI was starting to go downhill and I knew this film had a lot of it. To be honest though, I thought despite the animals being mostly done with computers, they were fine. I thought they moved and attacked in realistic ways. Not all of it is great, but I’ve seen much worse to be honest. I did like to see that Stan Winston did the animatronics crocodiles when they were used and those definitely looked real. I thought the film was shot well and I did enjoy when we got underwater shots.

Now with that said, this film is definitely fun. I wouldn’t come in expecting too much and just know this is a popcorn creature feature. The concept of an animal not known to be in this remote area is interesting. This film leans more toward the comedic side, which I did think worked here. The pacing builds to an interesting conclusion and never gets boring. The acting is solid across the board. The practical effects were good and to be honest, the CGI I thought was as well. The soundtrack didn’t really stand out to me, but it did fit the scenes for what is needed. No complaints there. I would say that this film is above average overall and one that you can watch for laughs or with friends.


My Rating: 7.5 out of 10