‘Lake Placid’ is an uncomplicated, undemanding ‘creature-feature’ which sets out to do nothing but entertain – & there’s nothing wrong with that!Directed by Steve Miner (‘Halloween H20′, ‘Friday the 13th’ parts 2 & 3) & starring Bill Pullman & Bridget Fonda, this is basically an update of ‘Jaws': for big shark, read big crocodile; for ocean, read big lake.
In comparison to such a classic movie anything similar is bound to suffer, (just look at Jaws 2 & 3!), & I think ‘Lake Placid’ does. It lacks Jaws’ tense ‘us versus the monster’ claustrophobia, there’s not much of a background story, & the characters are shallow. That’s not to say it’s a bad movie, because it’s not – certainly not if you like a big monster, a few shocks & a few laughs – which I do. To be fair, it doesn’t set out to copy ‘Jaws': this movie goes for laughs rather than for scary tension, & also differs in that it has very good special effects – which, lets face it, in ‘Jaws’ were pretty ropey!
The usual Hollywood cliches are there – city girl vs. hicktown sherriffs vs. kooky scientist, & even a mad old lady (Betty White from ‘The Golden Girls’). They all fight like mad to start off with, but you just know they’re mostly going to be best buddies by the end. I particularly liked the mad old lady – she steals every scene she’s in, & has some of the best & funniest lines in the whole film, most of which are unprintable! Bridget Fonda’s character has some great lines as well – for instance when meeting Bill Pullman’s country sherriff for the first time, who is being somewhat patronising to her, she says: “Do you think you could be a little more condescending please, because I’m really slow.” (I think she was being a little sarcastic).
This film is largely predictable, lightweight, unoriginal, standard Hollywood fare – but funny, well made, well acted, with a big scary monster & some real ‘Oh my God, my heart’s stopped’ shockers. Nothing new, but good fun!