Sunday, 26 August 2012

Lake Placid

"Lake Placid" (1999, Steve Miner, Phoenix Pictures, 20th Century Fox) is an American monster movie with a monster which is more believable than the likes of King Kong or Godzilla. I think that's one of the things that makes the idea of this film scary. But maybe not the film itself.

The start of this film is nicely gory, and if you don't know what you're going into it's a good shock. Of course, not that many people would go into this film without knowing that it's about the 30-foot man-eating crocodile that time forgot but... imagine you didn't.

After the death of a police officer in the lake and the witness of the attack by the local game and fish officer, Jack Wells (Bill Pullman), a team is assembled to find out what is in the lake and to get rid of it.

Finding a tooth in the body of the officer which appears to be prehistoric, they send for a specialist from the Natural History Museum. The museum sends Paleontologist, Kelly Scott (Bridget Fonda), who has recently been dumped by her cheating lover and boss...

A typical film of this kind, the team don't get on and there are many disputes between the cops, wildlife officers and Kelly. Then they are joined by an eccentric crocodile expert, Hector Cyr (Oliver Platt), who is adamant that that is what the creature is. What d'ya know? He's right!

Betty White gives an enjoyably creepy performance as sweet little old Delores Bickerman, a crazy lady living on the lake who has a supremely nasty side, and takes being an animal person to a whole new level...!

Pretty much, this film is "Jaws" in a lake. The water scenes are tense, the special effects are good for the 90s, the acting is satisfying, there's a small twist or two and the scenes are mildly funny. I can't fault this film because it serves exactly what it aims to; a monster film about a gigantic man-eater in a lake and a rather dysfunctional group of people sent to sort it out. Whether it's mean't to be satirical of 'nature-bites-back' films or not, is really up to the viewer.

Oh and a cow gets flying lessons... Anyone who wants anything more should really go watch another film!

[Picture: 20th Century Fox]