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36 of 40 people found the following review helpful
VINE VOICEon February 17, 2000
Written by David E. Kelley, the mastermind behind television's Ally McBeal and The Practice (both of which won Emmys in the "best of" categories last year), _Lake Placid_ is a comic horror film about the search for a giant crocodile, inexplicably living in a landlocked lake in upstate New York.
When a diver is eaten alive in the opening moments, by some unknown creature, the local game warden (Pullman) teams up with a paleontologist (Fonda) from New York to find the beast. Add to this mix an eccentric millionaire philanthropist with a penchant for swimming with "crocs" (Platt), and the local sheriff (Brendan Gleeson), who thinks the man is nuts, and you've got the recipe for one of the more underrated of last summer's films.
This is a horror film and it can, at times, get quite messy (see the opening attack sequence, for example). The special effects work is about what you'd expect in such a film, although with the advent of computer graphics, it's a lot easier to bring a realistic giant crocodile to life. Surprisingly, though, there are few deaths in the film.
The emphasis is more on suspenseful moments of the Jaws variety, in which we wonder whether unlucky swimmers are about to become lunch. And, there are even a couple of gross, but funny moments in the film, as when an eccentric old lady (played by Betty White) offers random farm animals as sacrifices to the croc.
But the real emphasis in the film is on the humor and there are some great conversations and arguments among the film's characters, particularly Platt's whacko croc-swimmer and Brendan Gleeson's sheriff (in one of the more unusual bits of casting, as the Irish Gleeson is forced to adopt an American accent, which tends to slip in some of the more heated moments). And White's character is also played for laughs (you'll be surprised at some of the inventive curses she comes up with).
The film wasn't particularly well-received when first released last summer, but luckily, with its release on video, this can be remedied. This is not a film for everyone's tastes, but if, like me, you occasionally hunger for a "giant-animal-runs-amuck" film, _Lake Placid_ more than fills the bill.
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26 of 28 people found the following review helpful
on May 4, 2004
A Fish and Game worker is doing a survey of beavers in a placid lake with the local sherrif when he suddenly becomes half the man he was and dies. Local law enforcement, Fish and Game, and a New York museum worker set out to discover what happened. They are soon joined by an eccentric millionaire who loves crocodiles.
Is there a crocodile in the lake? At first few believe that such a thing could be until hard evidence shows up. The Crocodile is not an ordinary one, it is thirty feet in length. The camp is quickly split between those who want to kill it and those who want to save it. To learn it's fate you will have to watch the film.
This is a very well-done piece of work. The characters are interesting and there is just enough sarcastic humor to really lighten the mood. Betty White plays a foul-mouthed local resident and her delivery of her "I'm rooting for the crocodile" line is an instant classic. This is a fun film and far from typical. It is not just a giant-lizard-eating-people film. Check it out.
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29 of 32 people found the following review helpful
on January 11, 2013
WE LOVE THIS MOVEING AND ALL GET MOVES OUT ON WEEKENDS AND WACH THE MOVES WE HAVE ALL OF THAN
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21 of 23 people found the following review helpful
I hated this movie when I first saw it. I always felt that it tried too hard to be funny. However, it's been a few years since I've seen it, and I was bored one night so I gave it another chance. I'm glad I did. While it isn't as good as "Anaconda," it does have some good qualities about it. The cast does very well with the campy dialogue they are given. The interactions between Oliver Platt and Brendan Gleeson are downright funny, and their relationship really steals the show. Everyone talks about Betty White's character in this flick, and it is pretty funny to watch her spew out curse word after curse word, but my favorite line of hers is how she delivers the word "Sherlock!" to Gleeson's character.

The crocodile looks pretty good. In a couple of scenes it is obvious that he's an animatronic croc, but thank heavens that the entire thing isn't CG-created. It's nice to see that puppeteers can still find work in Hollywood. Though the puppets are great, the CGI isn't too shabby either. The croc really is impressive to see on the screen. He's definitely done on a higher level than the aforementioned "Anaconda."

I recommend this movie to anyone who enjoys giant creature features with a hefty dose of macabre humor. Though it may be subpar when compared to other films of the genre, it is definitely better than the SciFi channel offerings such as "Dinocroc" and "Frankenfish." SciFi channel seems to be the last domain for larger-than-life creature flicks. Though I commend them for attempting to keep the genre above water, I wish that more camp-fests like "Lake Placid" could find their way to the big-screen.
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13 of 16 people found the following review helpful
Take away the beginning and end credits and what you are left with is a 75-minute long movie that you'll never watch more than once if you buy the DVD (like me) but will still have a fun time watching. Steve Miner returns to the tranquil lakeside settings he captured so well in the Friday the 13th movies and gives us more horror hokum.

What I liked about Lake Placid is that it is kind of light-hearted and doesn't try and make itself a full-blown horror by showing us guts and entrails. The movie is NOT serious and has many suspenseful scenes packed into it's VERY brief running time. The cast are delightful and the big nasty croc is actually quite sympathetic at the end. Buy this DVD and enjoy for what it is...a light, breezy comedy-thriller that nails the bullseye instead of aiming for higher (and ultimately lesser) results.
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
on April 26, 2002
The last thing to be expected in the pristine Maine wilderness and tranquil setting is a 30-foot eating machine, a reptilian of the species Crocodylus. Only this time, it's a real-life phenomenon.
Allocated her first real field assignment, a palaeontologist from New York City, Kelly Scott (Bridget Fonda) finds herself amidst a party of curious onlookers in Maine to investigate the origins of a tooth extracted from a recent victim involved in a vicious attack along a lake. She is introduced to a local Fish and Game warden Jack Wells (Bill Pullman), an irritable sheriff Hank Keough (Brendan Gleeson), and Hector Cyr (Oliver Platt), an "eccentric millionaire mythology professor", a crocodile fanatic who deifies crocodiles and contemplates he is "untouchable" and "godly".
Ticks, mosquitos and petty irritants of nature are essentially Kelly's assumed only fears. On the contrary, what the lake splashes up is a reflection of how trivial Kelly's anxieties really are. Overcoming their disparity, the warden, sheriff, palaeontologist, professor and deputies must explore all options and settle on a scheme that entails the enticement of the croc out of its territory, accompanied by unforeseen disasters.
'Lake Placid' is a highly acclaimed film directed by Steve Miner and produced by David E. Kelley and Michael Pressman. A 1999 20th Century Fox release, it is "this year's 'Anaconda', only you spend as much time laughing as you do screaming" (David Poland, TNT Roughcut.com).
Unconventionally effective and a jawful of laughs, "where 'Godzilla' makes the head hurt, 'Placid' splashes up a bit fun" (Ross Anthony, Hollywood Report Card). A tossup between a frivolous comedy and an edgy horror film with an unpredictable end, 'Lake Placid' is befitting for any audience who holds a zest for the darker side of Nature.
Also featuring Meredith Salenger as Deputy Gare and Betty White as the widowed Mrs. Bickerman, it throws stones of wit, humour and horror with an inexorably smart and edgy dialogue, stretching the boundaries of extraordinary special effects to send out ripples of shock, telling a tale of the concealed secrets lurking beneath the Maine lake's serene surface. Highly recommended.
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
on April 30, 2000
What more do you want from a film? Two good-looking leads, two fat people who have a witty slanging match all the way through the film and then the creme de la creme, a crazy old-woman who treats the crocodile as a pet!
What is really good about this film also is the fact that the special effects actually look real. You'll see what I mean when the crocodile eats the bear. Totally life-like!
An example of how crazy this old woman is! The crocodile eat her husband, she aint bothered. It wasn't the croc's fault she says. He got too close! You can't beat crazy old people, especially when they're portrayed as they are in this movie.
If you want this all summarized, here you go. This movie is excellent, everything you want from a spoof horror movie that does actually deliver some tense, terrifying death-defying moments that have you clinging onto your seat for dear-life. Then you find yourself checking to see if you haven't just soiled your pants when the croc does a surprise attack. Bridget Fonda's gorgeous, Bill Pullman plays the same role he plays in every other movie and Oliver Platt is just fat. An eccentric fat person at that so there's much to laugh at!
Buy this film as it's aided many a drunken party at my house and also, a lot of non-drunken parties too........
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13 of 17 people found the following review helpful
on June 20, 2004
I am looking for this movie because I want to buy it for my son who has seen "Jaws" already for the millionth time and I am afraid he will wear the disc out if I don't get him another comprable movie. This is the movie that I thought of that can match "Jaws" becuase it's sort of that fun, boo-scare-you, flick. It doesn't take itself seriously and the movie is full of interesting characters played by big name actors. What stood up for me is Betty White. Hands down she is the gem of this movie. It's like she won the "funny lines" lottery when they handed out the scripts. She plays a Lake resident who's husband is missing and the way she finally tells what happenned to him was so funny I was rolling on the floor. Oliver Platt got annoying, a little bit but thank god Bridget Fonda and Bill Paxton interceded with their likeable characters. I've rented this movie when it first came out on DVD and thought about buying it to include in my slumber party collection and I think this is the way this movie is going to get resurrected, through people who have a enough sense of humour and who knows what an excellent "giant animal ran amok" movie is all about. Gingerly place this next to your "Jaws," "Godzillas," "Tremors" on your DVD shelf, it belongs there.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
"Lake Placid" is one of those so-bad-it's-good movies. A ridiculous situation played completely straight with the aid of a slyly funny script and direction makes this a very amusing B-movie for the new millennia.

The cast is excellent in their roles: Bridget Fonda is a self-centered New York paleontologist sent to Maine to hunt for crocodiles due to a love affair gone horrible awry. She whines and annoys all other cast members, except for the hunky guy in charge of the crocodilian operation (Bill Pullman) who grudgingly falls for her. Oliver Platt was the cast member that was the champion of annoyance (especially to the Sheriff), but he does have some wonderfully ludicrous lines about the mythology of crocodiles, and best of all he allows his helicopter to be attacked by a thirty foot crocodile. (This may be the only crocodile versus helicopter fight scene ever filmed.) The Sheriff, played by wonderful character actor Brendan Gleeson is supposedly the dimwitted redneck, but actually manages to have more insight into the situations presented to him that the rest of the cast combined, subtly turning the B-movie adage about local law enforcement being dumb lunks completely around. I thought his acting was the best in the film and especially enjoyed his repeatedly being trapped in snares set by Platt. The best reaction shot in the film occurs when Gleeson engages Platt about a human toe discovered in the woods. By far my favorite character in the film is the crazy, foulmouthed old woman, Mrs. Bickerson, who may have murdered her husband, played in a wonderful and whimsical quirk of casting by Betty White.

The film itself is relatively predictable, although I had never before seen a grizzly bear be devoured by a crocodile, nor had I ever seen a cow suspended into a lake from a helicopter. In other words, the script, though played straight, skewers all the old conventions of monster movies. The DVD also has trailers and a brief documentary about the movie, which I found enjoyable.

This film is not groundbreaking in any way. The reason I gave it five stars was because it captures all the conventions of creature feature movies in one 82 minute film, simultaneously subtly skewering them while also respecting the lore of genre.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on February 9, 2000
Every now and then, a film is so gloriously awful it that it trascends mediocrity and becomes brilliant. This is one of those screen gems. Please don't look for good horror or deeper meaning, this is schlock at it's best.
David E. Kelly wrote some wonderfully bad dialogue for this film. (Further fueling the controversey of whether he's the luckiest hack alive or if he's really so talented he can turn out poetic garbage.) Some of the best lines are reserved for Betty White in a role like none you've ever seen her portray. One of her lines is so vulgar and preposterous that you will find yourself giggling over it days later.
Brigitte Fonda is her usual melodramatic self, but she's just so darn cute most people don't care. Oh, and then there's the Asian crocodile. (An homage to the red scare movies of the 50's? The Chinese are invading Maine perhaps?) While not even close to the CGI of a couple of Spielberg films it's at least not disturbingly ludicrous like Anaconda.
This film has a lot in common with Anaconda except that Anaconda tried to play it straight while Lake Placid gleefully wallows in its silliness.
Fire up some popcorn and put your brain on hold. This will entertain you.
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