Why Lake Placid?
I should start off by saying that I don't like horror films for the horror. That is to say if I do enjoy watching a horror film there is another element besides the horror that I draw pleasure from. With this in mind when I recommend a horror film it might actually be worth checking out if you yourself don't normally get enjoyment from the genre as a whole. Now why Lake Placid? On Criticker it had a Projected Ranking of merely 27 for me and on Rotten Tomatoes is only has a 38% fresh ranking which is a God damn crime. Plus it was filmed very close to where I live in BC, Canada which is always pretty neat.
So what's the plot?
Honestly the plot is pretty damn standard as far as creature horror goes. A relatively quiet and quaint town has a gigantic monster in the lake appear and eats the lower torso of a Maine Fish and Game officer researching American Beaver populations. Kelly Scott (Bridget Fonda) is a fossil analyst or something at a Natural History Museum who has recently had an office affair with her boss. Her boss, who now wants her out of the way, requires her to investigate the attack, as he has since moved on to a relationship with another co-worker, due to a tooth being found in the dead man's corpse possibly being of prehistoric origin. There she teams up with Fish and Game officer Jack Wells (Bill Pullman) and Sheriff Hank Keough (Brendan Glesson) to find out what exactly happened.
So why should I watch it?
It's directed by Steve Miner who's probably best known for directing Friday the 13th Parts II and III. He's done some other stuff like House, a mildly entertaining horror flick, and the abysmal Halloween H20: 20 Years Later. If this doesn't sound like I'm selling you on the film it's because I'm not, yet. Steve Miner isn't a reason to check this out.
I've spoken to a few people that like the film and I've been told it has a clever and sharp script. Honestly I wouldn't as far as to call the entire script "clever." The two principle leads, Bridget Fonda and Bill Pullman, are certainly well above the standard horror movie actor in terms of skill. However their roles are relatively safe and tame to allow the audience some generic characters to really empathize with. To be fair both Fonda and Pullman do very good work with the relatively bland characters they're portraying and they do not drag down the film at all.
The real reasons to watch the film are the following:
and Betty White
The chemistry between Platt and Gleeson is absolutely incredible. They're like two brothers that love to hate one another. Constantly fighting, bickering and insulting one another they are damn funny in this and the highlight of the film. Additionally Betty White plays a borderline senile crazy lady who lives in a solitary cabin by the lake. I'm not usually one for old people saying naughty things being hilarious but damn it's pretty funny to hear a Golden Girl say "If I had a dick, this is where I'd tell you to suck it!"
You should know that Lake Placid never got a good DVD release. It's widescreen but it's non-anamorphic so the picture quality isn't all that good but certainly watchable. It's available on Netflix and I pass it all the time in the horror section of video rental stores so it should be easy to come by. Plus the DVD is on Amazon for cheap and in tons of bargain bins, which is where my girlfriend bought it for me if I recall correctly.
Anyhow, check it out. It's got a good amount of intentional laughs instead of the "so bad it's funny" that seems to dominate the horror genre.
How do you rank it doctor 7?
Currently it sits in my "Good" tier on Criticker with a score of 75/100 (so 7 or 8/10 depending on how you look at it).
This movie would be complete B-movie fodder if it wasn't for the hilarious performances from Oliver Platt and Brendan Gleeson. They literally save this film in my books. Betty White, as well, is quite hilarious with her small amount of screen time. I normally don't like horror flicks but this movie has enough great laughs to keep you quite entertained. Sure the science is pretty goofy but it's a horror film so who cares.
Criticker Review Link
Previous Overlooked Films:
The Big Hit (8/10) | Citizen Duane (9/10) | Open Range (9/10) | Star Trek V: The Final Frontier (7/10)