Plot: On what should have been a routine excursion to tag some beaver, Sheriff Keough (Brendan Gleeson) watched as a Fish & Game official was attacked and devoured by some kind of massive creature. While he is hesitant to bring in outside help to Lake Placid, Keough has no choice and soon enough, Game Warden Wells (Bill Pullman), crocodile expert Hector (Oliver Platt), and paleontologist Kelly Scott (Bridget Fonda) are on the scene. Scott finds herself on the outside of the investigation, as the locals try to block her out, despite her expertise on apex predators. Meanwhile, Hector seems to be off everyone’s radar, as his wild theories and oddball behavior cause his peers to ignore his rants. Soon it becomes clear that whatever attacked before is still on the prowl, ready to strike again. What lurks within the dark waters of Lake Placid and can anyone survive long enough to uncover the truth?
Entertainment Value: I love the premise of Lake Placid, a killer crocodile movie with a sense of humor and Betty White as a foul mouthed local eccentric, but the whole is less than the parts in this case. The narrative focuses on the humans for most of the duration and while that offers some fun moments, the material isn’t humorous enough to hold up as a comedy. When the movie switches gears back to the horror/monster angle, the film heats up, but these sequences are few and far between. I know sometimes keeping the monster hidden can be an effective tool, but in a b movie like Lake Placid, it seems like a bad idea. If the writing were sharper and the human driven stories were more fun, things might have worked better, but as it stands, this is a mediocre comedy with a few nice horror set pieces. The cast is colorful and brings a lot of talent, but the script just doesn’t have enough gas in the tank to let them shine. The Bridge Fonda/Bill Pullman romance is kind of fun at times, but otherwise there’s a lot of dead ends that could have been fun to see unfold. More Oliver Platt would have been nice, but there’s a good deal of potential untapped throughout. So if you’re here for the animal attacks, you’ll likely be let down with Lake Placid. But if you want a few fun set pieces and Betty White cursing a blue streak, give it a shot.
No nakedness. The romance thread is just for laughs and never smolders, while we are also denied a Betty White nude scene once again. But given the comedic tone of the movie, the lack of sleaze is no surprise. The movie does have some fun crocodile attack scenes, but sadly, they’re infrequent with large stretches between, making us endure the mediocre human stories instead. The few attacks we do get are well crafted and provide some b movie style gore, so while not graphic, some red stuff splashes around. I think if the movie was more driven by the crocodile, or at least the more interesting humans, Lake Placid could have been more of a cult classic. The dialogue is fine, with a good amount of dysfunctional banter that is fun when it pops up, with Oliver Platt as one of the more consistent sources. But of course, Betty White steals the show with her profane presence and has most of the best lines. On the insanity scale, aside from White’s rants, there’s not much that stands out. Some light b movie vibes, but Lake Placid never goes for broke with the concept.
Overall Insanity: 1/10