Discs Are Rated
Click above to purchase "Lake Placid" at amazon.com
review by Ren C.
Running Time: 82 minutes
Starring Bill Pullman, Bridget Fonda, Oliver Platt
Written by David E. Kelly
Directed by Steve Miner
Retail Price: $22.98
Features: Featurette, Cast and Crew Biographies, TV
Spots, Theatrical Trailer
Specs: 1.85:1 Non-Anamorphic Widescreen, English Dolby
Digital 5.1, English Dolby Surround, French Dolby Surround,
English Closed Captions, English Subtitles, Spanish
Subtitles, Chapter Search
Horror has always been a very cyclical genre within the
movie business. Every ten to fifteen years, a very good,
cutting edge horror movie is released, and within months the
market is glutted with horror movies from every possible
angle. Lake Placid is covered under this description;
however, it is not the cutting edge movie. This is one of
those movies that more than likely was devised in a daydream
where the creative powers at be think to themselves, "Hey,
wouldn't it be cool if a crocodile ate a cow?" Then, six to
eight months later, their brainchild hits the screen.
Thankfully, Lake Placid doesn't ever take itself too
seriously, erring more on the comedy side of the
comedy-horror line. The plot, such as it is, starts in a
small town in Maine where a Fish and Game officer is called
out to investigate something strange in the lake, and
proceeds to be eaten by that strange something. A tooth is
recovered, which apparently recovers the assistance of a
paleontologist from New York, Kelly Scott (Bridget Fonda).
She determines that the tooth is of reptilian origin, which
is backed up by the newly appointed Fish and Game officer
Jack Wells (the ubiquitous Bill Pullman), who is none too
happy about having a woman from New York along for the ride.
He is even less happy when the eccentric Mythology professor
Hector Cyr (Oliver Platt) shows up, convinced that the
creature is a crocodile. Having assembled this fairly
bizarre crew, along with Town Sheriff Hank Keough (Brendan
Gleeson), the mission to capture the crocodile begins.
This essentially makes up the main plot of the movie,
with the only opposition to capturing the crocodile coming
from Delores Bickerman (Betty White), who sees the crocodile
almost a pet. From this point, the movie almost entirely
stops relying on plot, instead choosing to rely on physical
comedy and Stan Winston's mastery of the art. Sadly, the
crocodile itself is almost laughable. One of the TV spots
included bills the movie as "This year's Anaconda!" In this
aspect, there is no argument. There are a few funny scenes,
whether intentionally or not, generally involving the
crocodile and some other object, be it a cow or a
helicopter. The actors, to their credit, seem to know that
they are not making a good movie, with Betty White
especially turning in an enjoyable and somewhat surprising
This is one of those movies that somewhere down the line
may be regarded as a campy good time. If you're looking for
a fun, campy horror movie, look no further. Anyone looking
to be scared or for a horror classic, search on.
While not an anamorphic transfer, Lake Placid still has a
very high-quality picture. There was no grain noticed, and
little to no artifacts, including on some of the numerous
water scenes. Blacks were rich and full, and colors were
present and never seemed washed out or faded. With the
exception of the unfortunate lack of an anamorphic transfer,
this is an excellent transfer.
Again, the Dolby Digital 5.1 track shines through very
well here. While not an effects-driven movie, bass is
present in tense scenes, emphasizing the score, as well as
in the few effects scenes that are present. Dialogue, for
the most part, is present, easy to hear, and crisp.
A few features are provided, although all are very light
on content. The most bulky of these is a Featurette
that runs slightly over five minutes that couldn't be
more promotional if it tried. This is essentially a plea for
us to go see the movie and provides absolutely nothing in
the way of useful information. Also provided are three TV
Spots, the film's Theatrical Trailer, and Cast
and Crew Biographies that, if they were any smaller,
would be detrimental to the viewer's eyesight.
Again, this movie is not going to be remembered as a
classic. However, it does have a certain sort of campy
appeal to it that cannot be denied. The video and audio are
above average, although the features are almost deplorable.
I would say this is a definite rental first, because this is
not the sort of movie that is going to appeal to all tastes.
(2/5 - NOT included in
NOT an average)