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Review written by: Alex Sandell
What's the story?
Paleontologist, Kelly Scott (Bridget Fonda, in the first role I've ever really liked her in) is sent over to some lake in Maine (they wanted to call it "Placid," but found out somebody else already took the name) to investigate a big tooth that Sheriff Keough (Brendan Gleeson, proving Catholics really can be funny) pulled out of what was left of a victim's body. Fish and Game warden Jack Wells (Bill Pullman, basically being Bill Pullman) is put in charge of the investigation, and is shocked to find that what he's investigating is an oversized Crocodile with a really bad temper. Finally, Hector Cyr (Oliver Platt, spewing out sarcastic dialogue so slyly and dryly, he should get some sort of "honorable mention" at next year's Oscars), the eccentric millionaire who kind of has a thing for Crocs, takes the liberty of flying himself in, joining the rest of the gang in the hunt for the 30 foot beast. Betty White takes a foul-mouthed turn as Mrs. Bickerman, but to say anything more than "she's as vulgar as one of them crazy 'South Park' kids" may give away key plot points that you probably don't want to know.
So how is it? (Get to the point, already)
The producers behind Lake Placid put together the perfect combination of writer and director to revive the "underwater horror movie" which was basically born with Jaws and killed by Jaws II . With David E. Kelley (the guy that produces and writes Ally McBeal) behind the keyboard, they set the film up for enough cheesy laughs to last us through the millenium. Then, by putting horror-maestro, Steve Miner (Friday the 13th parts 2 & 3 and Halloween: H20) behind the camera, they gave us the ideal man to provide us with plenty of shocks, jolts, guts, gore and finely crafted scares.
So, does it work? Comedy-wise, Placid succeeds 99.9%. This film had the entire audience laughing in all the right places. Not laughing at the picture, mind you, but with it. That's a bit of a marvel in horror filmmaking these days. As for the actually horror itself, Placid pulled out a decent 50/50 average (far better than the latest Scream rip-off, or three). About half of the jumps or intended frights are too easily anticipated, but the other half (and they come fast) had the theater jumping out of their seats so often, the auditorium started looking like an oversized popcorn popper. Then there's that climax! After being deafened by all the girls in attendance screaming their lungs out for 10 minutes straight, I don't think anyone will really be complaining that they figured out a scare or two ahead of time, earlier in the movie.
That said, this is, hands-down, the best "monster under water" pic since the original Jaws. It's got a good amount of nearly everything anyone who likes these kind of films could want. My only complaint is that not enough people get chomped. Still, if you're a fan of "underwater horror," and you don't get your ass out to the theater, you deserve to get bit in half by the next crocodile, alligator, piranha or great white shark that swims under your feet!
What does it make you feel like eating?
What are you selling us here???
Fun summer entertainment that's actually fun! Not to mention, there's some product placements here and there. The only one I can remember is for Mars candy bars, and maybe an alligator suitcase, or something.
If it won an Oscar, what would it be?
"Reviving a dead genre, in a single bite" - Lake Placid
On a scale of 1-10?
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Text ©(Copyright) 1999 Alex Sandell [All Rights Reserved]. If you copy this, without my permission, I'll have those little South Park bastards believing you're KENNY!
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