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Movie Review

Lake Placid

Rated “R” for violent creature attacks and related gore, and for language.

Reviewed by: Debbie James

Very Offensive
Moviemaking Quality:

Primary Audience:
Older Teen to Adult
Horror / Comedy
82 min.
Year of Release:

Starring: Bill Pullman, Brendan Gleeson, Bridget Fonda, Oliver Platt, Betty White, and Meredith Salenger / Director: Steve Miner / Released by: 20th Century Fox

I’m not sure whether the producers intended “Lake Placid” to be a serious or campy movie as there are moments of each scattered throughout. It is not nearly as frightening and and believable as “Jaws”, although there are similar scenes, nor is it as suspenseful, fun, or campy as 1990’s “Tremors” (featuring giant, worm-like desert-burrowing creatures).

When it is discovered that a gigantic man-eating creature is living in a remote Maine lake, a crew assembles to investigate. There’s game warden Jack Wells (Bill Pullman), Sheriff Hank Keough (Brendan Gleeson), New York City museum paleontologist Kelly Scott (Bridget Fonda), and crocodile expert Hector Cyr (Oliver Platt), a rich, eccentric professor who idolizes crocodiles and claims they are more deified than Jesus in some cultures. Mrs. Delores Bickerman (Betty White), is the only apparent lake resident. She’s a newly widowed, somewhat crazy, foul-mouthed senior citizen who’s been keeping the crocodile as a pet.

The sherriff wants to kill the creature since he witnessed it killing his deputy. The warden, however, wants to first figure out exactly what they’re dealing with. The crocodile expert wants to take it alive, and of course, both the women are against killing it, too. Realizing that they’re faced with a thirty-foot long, man-eating Asian crocodile, they then try to come to an agreement what to do with it.

The movie has some beautifully photographed scenery and aerial sequences in the beginning, a few instances of witty dialogue, and some good crocodile effects by special effects master Stan Winston, but unfortunately a few great scenes aren’t enough to make a good movie. The whole premise seems laughable. An Asian crocodile is living in a Maine lake! One can assume it might have gotten there by being tossed in by a bored pet owner, but how could it survive long enough to grow to a length of 30-feet?!

And then there’s the issue of the team assembled for the investigation. Why is a fussy city girl who hates the remote outdoors chosen to be on the team? The affair/break up with her boss just isn’t a good enough reason. Next, the crocodile expert just shows up and injects himself into the investigation. Is that really how teams are formed?

Finally, the most ridiculous aspect of the movie is the utter stupidity of the characters. They continually stand at the water’s edge, even after witnessing the crocodile eating several people and animals, and don’t seem to be afraid to camp close to the lake, take their small boat out on the lake hunting for evidence, or even scuba dive!

Objectionable material present: About a dozen f-words are spoken, along with two dozen various uses of the Lord’s name in vain, and about two dozen other swear words and colorful phrases. Several people and animals are killed by the crocodile with graphic, gory details; two instances of fist-fighting with, or slapping someone; a character jokingly describes a murder that was committed; and the team’s attempt to kill the crocodile is both violent and gory. Some sexual comments are made but nothing is shown, we hear a man urinating, and some alcohol use occurs.

Viewer Comments
A purely entertaining movie. This one is probably not going to win any awards. If you are looking for a fun guys night out, or if you are a teen or pre-teen guy, then you may like it. It was similar to almost all the movies being produced these days in that it was subtly anti-Christ or anti-God in a very unassuming way. The Lord’s name was used to curse several times. It is as if Hollywood these days tries to blaspheme God in this way. Also, mention is made that crocodiles have probably been worshiped more than Jesus over the centuries. I saw this as Hollywood’s attempt to make anyone who does not worship Jesus feel more comfortable with their lack of belief. I mean, if more people have worshiped crocodiles than Jesus, they can’t possibly be way off the mark by worshiping money or power or not worshiping anything at all. In summation, taking it into account that you can’t go to the movies without being slightly offended in your faith, it is a fun movie if you have your head on straight.
—Tyler Allison, age 27
Negative—Shame on you Betty White!!! If anyone can watch this movie and still have respect for her I would be shocked, she made such a fool of herself by going on this film and cursing and saying repulsive things that no one should say!

This movie was such a complete waste of my time, I wanted to see the alligator not these dumb people who deserved to be eaten by standing right next to the water, canoeing (of all things), and swimming around in there… crazy! Once again a movie has been completely ruined by profanity… we don’t want to hear it! Don’t go see this one, you will feel like valuable time has been wasted.
—Kelli, age 25
Positive—I saw this on TV—the TV14 version—and it was great, no f-words no g*d, no gore (well you see for a split second a severed moose head). Just a funny movie, so if you want to see it watch the TV14 version and enjoy!!
My Ratings: Moral rating: Average / Moviemaking quality: 3½
—Jessica Cagle, age 19 (USA)
Movie Critics
…shocking filthy language comes from the sweet little widow… / -2½ rating
—Preview Family Movie and TV Review