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 a film that I remember when it hit the movie channels. I’ve seen a few times, but I think only a few times all the way through. This is also one that the Sci-Fi Channel picked up so they would show it regularly. It would also be one I could drop in on the middle and enjoy it from there.

Synopsis: 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). He is out in a boat with a someone from Fish and Game. He goes under and checks out what looks like a beaver dam. He is attacked by something and thrown into the boat with his bottom half missing. Jack Wells (Bill Pullman) is called in from the same department. He thinks that it is a bear that did it, but Hank disagrees. They soon learn that it is something else.

In New York at a museum there is some discord. Kevin (Adam Arkin) breaks up with a paleontologist that is working under him and she’s freaking out. Kelly Scott (Bridget Fonda) is freaking out and soon learns he is leaving her to get back with Myra (Mariska Hargitay) who he was seeing previously. She is also Kelly’s friend. A report comes in and to let things blow over Kevin asks her to go to Maine to check out a tooth they found. They think it is from a dinosaur from the information provided.

Kelly doesn’t want to go at first but is soon intrigued when she checks it out. 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 searching for what killed this man and that’s when Hector Cyr (Oliver Platt) shows up. Kelly knows him and she’s shocked since he only goes 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.

That is where I’ll leave my recap and introduction to the characters. Where I want to start with my breakdown is that 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. It doesn’t confirm it, but it is good enough. From my understanding, they stick to warmer places. It wasn’t as big an idea in 1999, but they could have played with the idea that it was global warming. I haven’t seen any of the sequels, so I’m not sure if that’s where they go.

To shift over to a negative, it is also 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 like Hector though, being the expert on the animal that he is.

Now if you know me, 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, even after multiple viewings. Mrs. Bickerman is also quite funny here as well. There is some romance that isn’t overplayed between Jack and Kelly. There is an odd back and forth with Hector and Hank as they don’t get along. We see as things go, the two develop mutual respect.

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 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 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 also not bad. Pullman 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 good in her smaller role. It was interesting to see Meredith Salenger, Hargitay and Arkin in their small roles as well. I would say the rest of the cast rounded out the film for what was needed.

If there is a gripe, I hear from people it comes with the CGI. This was the era where it was used more and doesn’t always hold up. 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. I did like to see that Stan Winston did the animatronics crocodiles when they were used and those looked good. I thought the cinematography was fine. I did enjoy the underwater shots we got quite a bit.

In conclusion, this is a fun film. 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 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 wasn’t that bad. The soundtrack didn’t stand out to me, but it did fit the scenes for what is needed. No complaints there. It is just one that I recommend seeing and shut your brain off to have fun.


My Rating: 7 out of 10