johnlink ranks LAKE PLACID (1999)
I remember seeing this in theaters and thinking it was fairly funny and entertaining. I haven’t seen it in the 14 years since, so all I really remember about it was that it had a giant crocodile and Oliver Platt and that it was played for laughs. The horror-comedy genre has more hits than misses, so the fact that I remembered this as good warranted a revisit.
I watched LAKE PLACID (1999) on 2.10.13. It was my second viewing of the film and first since it was in theaters.
Essentially this movie pits a 30 foot long crocodile, raised by Betty White, versus the President from INDEPENDENCE DAY (Bill Pullman), Porthos (Oliver Platt), the sane one from SINGLE WHITE FEMALE (Bridget Fonda), and Mad-Eye Moody (Brendan Gleeson). The film is written by the creator of such TV shows as Ally McBeal and Boston Legal and The Practice (David E. Kelley) and it is directed by the guy who directed a couple FRIDAY THE 13TH sequels and a HALLOWEEN sequel (Steve Miner). Sold!
The tone of this is light and silly. It starts with a JAWS homage (or rip-off, depending on your point of view) as something is stalking a diver. This is more comedy than horror as the people who are killed off are all people we aren’t asked to care about, and the body count is surprisingly low.
It features such high comedic concepts as Betty White swearing and insulting people, Oliver Platt as a self-proclaimed Crocodile Hunter, and multiple physical gags as Mad-Eye continually gets ensnared by Platt’s traps.
It is all very silly, but endearingly so. This isn’t a movie which rewrites any rules for either the comedy or horror genre, but it has enough wit to keep moving. The special effects, surprisingly, aren’t too bad either. The movie is smart enough to keep the croc underwater enough to spend the money on fairly decent shots. One moment with a bear will pull you out of the realism, but the movie in general gets the monster effects right.
Platt and Gleeson are particularly fun to watch. Pullman and Fonda may be the leads, but they don’t feel particularly committed to the movie, partly because the script makes Fonda act that way and gives Pullman very little to do.
Final verdict? It’s fun enough. And at 82 minutes it breezes on by. It’s not particularly worth seeking out, but it also is entertaining enough to pass some time with.
FILM: 3; MOVIE: 6; ACTING: 4; WRITING: 4
FINAL SCORE: 4.25