Let’s get dumb.
After watching Anaconda, the most sensible thing to do was to watch Lake Placid and have a long and sad thought about where my life is going.
Lake Placid puts inexplicably stupid people against a giant crocodile in Maine. That’s the plot.
We have an oddly strong cast. Bill Pullman, Bridget Fonda, Brendan Gleeson, and Betty White (oddly B heavy cast…). One thing I love about the 90s is that stars were willing to be in these atrocious movies.
I’m not sure what audience Placid is aiming for. It has some gore, but we have a pathetically low kill count. There are a couple attempts at tension, but these are so few and far between that it is almost pointless. Instead, this movie seems to be trying to be a romantic comedy that happens to have a big crocodile. However, it fails here, too.
We follow grumpy sheriff (Gleeson) who has to deal with cocky game and fish douche (Pullman) and an annoying New Yorker (Fonda)—who is there for unknown reasons. To make matters dumber, we also have eccentric professor Hector (Oliver Platt) ruin every scene he is in. I don’t expect movies to do a lot of research, thinking such a thing could happen would indicate we live in a world with standards, but this is absurd. I hate the presentation of all the professions in this film. They’re all idiots. Perhaps worse, is they seem to forget that people are dying (granted, not many) and instead have stupid parties and what knot.
The most perplexing aspect of this movie is how little it respects women. Fonda’s character is little more than a doormat who can’t help but fall out of vehicles (I think there are four instances of this) and serves as little more than a punchline. I honestly believe that the writers of this movie have never talked with a woman. Sadly, that is the nicest explanation I can give.
The real explanation for how terrible and objectified the women are in this movie showcases that for actresses they have to take shit roles or have no roles. Though I do suppose being surrounded by overly crude and disgusting men who don’t respect women is probably something most actresses don’t have to prepare for. The whole movie felt antiquated. This is not me trying to impart 2020 morals onto a 1999 film, but rather I am simply shocked that things were so backward in 1999.
Following a group of obnoxious and unlikable characters is a bizarre and exhausted trope in horror. This movie serves as a bit of time capsule for how long this issue has been around (though this is certainly not the first). It is odd to see how little the horror genre, or the horror/humor genre, has changed in about twenty years. One side of the equation will always be sacrificed. Here, we have little horror and strange reactions to the horror elements. I might not be best friends with my coworkers, but I don’t think I’d be up for a party after watching one get decapitated. Maybe I’m just a spoilsport.
The movie isn’t a complete failure. For an evening at home you could do worse. How funny you find the film will vary, and even then, it is hard to quantify. Maybe a third of the jokes land? Does that make it a success or failure? I’m not sure, nor am I sure that this movie knew what exactly it wanted audiences to get out of it.
Both this and Anaconda spawned franchises—why? Creature features can be a lot of fun. At least Anaconda knew what it was. This one seems to just be trying to milk something out of nothing.
For good crocodile movies, there are a lot of better options, Crawl perhaps being the best. For humor, Cabin in the Woods has yet to be topped. You’d be better doing those two as a double feature than wasting your time with this.