Lake Placid 3
Director: G. E. Furst
Stars: Colin Ferguson, Yancy Bunter, Kirsty Mitchell, Michael Ironside
Review by Brian M. Sammons
Let me get this out of the way right at the start; this is a SyFy original movie, as in the SyFy Channel. For some of you, that right there is enough to have you stop reading and write this direct to basic cable movie off. Knowing the history of movies made for and by SyFy, I wouldn’t blame you. But does this one defy expectations and actually turn out to be good? Well, at least watchable, as the first movie wasn’t really good. I mean, the first Lake Placid was enjoyable in a campy, creature feature kind of way. It was ably made, had decent special effects, and was well acted, especially with a great performance by Betty White as the old crazy croc lady. So can this sequel once removed deliver the same kind of goofy fun?
In a word: no. A big fat no on all counts.
This movie is set at the same titular lake and begins with the nephew of the crazy croc lady moving into her lakefront home after her death with his wife and son. Once there, the son finds great auntie’s baby crocs and starts feeding them. I guess stupid crazy is in the genes with this family. This goes on for two years with the father and mother never catching on, even when mommy sneaks up behind the kid right as he’s feeding the crocodiles and yet she doesn’t see them. What, are they are stealth crocs? Oh no, sorry, just lazy screenwriting, my bad. Anyway, one day the kid runs out of meat, or the crocs just get too big, and they start munching on the locals. And well, that’s about it for story, but then you could have guessed that. What you could not have foreseen was how many ways this movie fails.
The acting is atrocious. Community Theater level at best. Every time the actors opened their mouths I just wanted to smack them upside the head and tell them to stop it. The one exception to this is Michael Ironside who pretty much plays Michael Ironside as he always does. So I don’t know if that can be considered “acting” or not, but it’s still enjoyable after all these years. Now to be fair, the horrible performances can’t all be blamed on the actors as the lines they are given to recite are stilted, wooden, and unbelievable.
With that in mind, I can only guess that the director must have been awed by the amazing script because he was determined to match it in quality. Well he succeeded. Atmosphere, suspense, dread, thrills, shock, surprise, believable emotion of any sort, yeah this movie has none of those things. Only the very basics of “point camera and hit record” is evident. The very same skill any twelve-year-old borrowing his parents’ video camera has mastered.
Last but oh so not least, there are the movie’s special effects, which are easily the best thing this film has to offer. Not because they were so good and believable, but because they were so laughably bad. While the splatter is passable (how hard is it to toss around blood and latex thirty plus years after Tom Savini), the CGI crocs are fall-down-laughing-till-it-hurts silly looking. The only enjoyment to be had by watching this dreary little movie is to howl with laughter every time one of crocs wanders into the screen looking like it just escaped from an old 8 bit Nintendo videogame.
Knowing how good this movie was, Sony has given it the DVD release it so richly deserves. That is one devoid of any special features whatsoever. There’s not even a commentary track, but with a movie this good, what would it say? If it did exist I would bet it would be 90 minutes of the filmmakers saying “we’re sorry, we’re sorry, we’re so damn sorry” over and over again. At least it should be.
In closing, the only enjoyment to be had while watching this movie is if you and your fiends get drunk and mercilessly rip it apart, Mystery Science Theater 3000 style. As such it is a rental at best and a big old skip it otherwise.