Warning this is a spoiler based review
I can't be the only person who thinks there should be a comma in that tag line...
I thoroughly enjoyed Lake Placid and recommend it as one of the few giant crocodile movies I've seen which is actually good. Lake Placid 2 is a shameless rip off and rehash of the first film, even down to casting Cloris Leachman as Betty White's fellow eccentric and crocodile feeding sister. The first one was good because we barely saw the crocodile, they saved it for when they really needed it and therefore the effects looked great, the humour struck a great balance with the horror and the science was sound. What I mean by that is, that even if anything they said about crocodiles was incorrect (I don't think it was, but this is hypothetical), it sounded completely plausible. The crocodile was very large because it was very old, this actually happens, crocodiles who are 80/90/100 years old are often huge in size from anywhere between 18 to 28 feet being reported. So the very old crocodile in Lake Placid being 30 feet long isn't too much of the stretch of imagination or realms of believability. In Lake Placid 2, set only a few years after the first film, the babies are the size of the original crocodiles, this seems terribly, terribly stupid.
Because I am a fair reviewer, however, I'm willing to judge Lake Placid 3 on it's own merits, however this being a made for sci-fi/Syfy movie, I don't have any high hopes.
This outing opens a year after the events of Lake Placid 2 and a couple hiking to Black Lake (Lake Placid) on the back of a truck tell their driver that they can be dropped off where they are and are happy to hike the last mile of their journey to the lake through the woods.
The girl thinks her boyfriend is being silly for thinking that they might get lost and die or attacked by a wild animal, however he's soon distracted because this is the unrated edition and she strips all her clothes off.
In a scene which totally rips off Jaws, but in a way I can forgive, the naked girl jumps into the water to swim and the boyfriend struggles pull his own clothes off, tripping over in the process, before jumping in after her. They canoodle in the water a little and the girl thinks she hears something, but dismisses it and then drags her boyfriend back to the shoreline for some, How's Your Father. The boyfriend, whose feet are in the water, complains that something bit him, but the girl is like "Something bit you? In the water? In a lake? That's the most stupid implausible thing I've ever heard!" As he his bitten further, he shakes his legs in pain and she compliments him on his sexing, then he is dragged between her legs and the girl, being an idiot, is now pleased that his mouth is connected to her private area. It takes him being dragged completely into the water and being eaten by several small crocodiles for her to notice something is amiss, then magically she transports herself about six feet away from her original position on the shore, to waist deep in water and she is dragged as well.
Here's where the movie is already failing, anyone who has seen a documentary about crocodiles knows this is not how crocodiles attack people, also these are small crocodiles and shouldn't have the strength to drag a fully grown man into the water.
We get an underwater POV shot leading us to some kid sat on a dock's, feet. The kid's Dad tells him to go inside and help his mother and we get a flashback to Lake Placid 2, it's been a while since I've seen it, but I'm fairly sure this guy wasn't in that movie... *wikipedia* He wasn't.
This is Nathan Bickerman, Sadie (Cloris Leachman from Lake Placid 2, the sister of Betty White's character from Lake Placid) was his aunt and he is there with his wife Susan and son Connor, to gather up her belongings and to decide what to do with the house. Susan finds a chainsaw in the fridge and Nathan reiterates that Sadie was "eccentric".
Susan finds a crocodile teddy and Connor asks if he can have it, the parents do a bit of "yes", "no", "yes", "no", but he gets the toy. They find a very small tank which is empty and Nathan says it was probably a lizard tank and it could be somewhere in the house.
|Can anyone identify what the hell that head should belong to?|
Michael Ironside pulls up to the dock in a boat... hang on... Michael Ironside! What the hell is Michael Ironside doing in this movie? I'm beginning to think that the fact my Mum is in love with him has jaded my view on the type of movies Michael Ironside is in. Scanners is a good movie, my arse....
Michael Ironside is the new sheriff in town, dropping by to see how the couple are getting on with cleaning out the cabin. The couple send the kid out of the room and tell Michael Ironside that they haven't told Connor about what the old ladies who lived in this cabin liked to do, namely feed giant crocodiles.
Nathan says that he thinks his aunt was just lonely because even though they only lived in the town, (which isn't far by all estimations) they rarely visited and it's taken them a year to get their arses into gear to come clean out the house. They were lucky all they found in the fridge was a chainsaw and not a new ecosystem. Susan clearly wants rid of the house, Nathan wants to keep it. Michael Ironside tells her he's been monitoring the lake with cameras and sonar and they've not seen anything large in the lake. He says he's seen much worse than giant crocodiles and was once attacked by a 6 foot 5 cross-dresser, which is probably a reference to one of the many movies he's been in, but I'm not my Mum and I haven't seen all of them so I have no idea which one.
In the kitchen Connor sees a lizard under the kitchen table and follows it as it goes outside, he chases it to the edge of the lake where it is eaten by a CGI crocodile. Michael Ironside leaves and then Susan finally agrees that they don't have to sell the lake house, at least until the housing market recovers, then she notices that her son isn't in the house anymore. By the lake, Connor feeds 4 of the young crocs some jerky he had in his pocket and decides that they can be his pets. His mother arrives just in time to not see the crocodiles and she insists that they go back to town. The camera sweeps down and we see the head of the girl from earlier in the film.
|insert appropriate head-based pun here|
Two years later...
Nathan and Susan are now too busy to spend time with their son, Nathan is busy with some zoological problem which he thinks is poachers, (I think it's crocodiles), Susan is doing something on her computer involving renting cabins to people because she's a real estate agent. Connor asks some kids if they want to see something cool, but they take the piss because apparently this kid cannot make friends. Connor arrives at the lake to feed his crocodiles which now look to be fully grown, (normal size crocodile full grown, not uber croc), apparently his parents have been so busy they haven't noticed him sneaking off to feed stolen meat to crocodiles for the past two years. He throws the whole packet still wrapped in polystyrene and cling film for the crocs and they eat it whole, which must do awful things to their bowel movements.
How no one has noticed these crocs in the last two years is a wonder since there's at least 4 of them. The crocs are unhappy that the kid didn't bring them enough to eat, so he promises that he'll bring more next time, though really, what he fed them should be about average for crocodiles their size especially if they are eating wildlife as well and should logically have an underwater larder.
|Raisin' crocs, a proud Bickerman tradition|
I think these guys are going to be the boys who called crocodile. Michael Ironside gets a call from his wife which is interrupted by Nathan calling to tell him that the missing elk have possibly been going to the lake, Michael Ironside tells him there's nothing in the lake bigger than a trout and to not mention crocodiles to him.
Connor returns him to find a blonde women with an ambiguously foreign accent smoking a cigarette and watching soap operas. His mother appears and the woman drops the cigarette and stamps it out on the floor, hoping Susan won't notice that or the smoke. yeah...
Susan has to go to an open house because she's too busy to be a parent and she promises to make time to spend with him the next day (yeah right) and the foreign woman will be looking after him. The foreign woman has one of those annoying yappy type dogs which will probably be eaten by a crocodile.
The foreign woman whose named I had to look up on wikipedia, Vica, tells Connor he smells like a goat and should have a bath, Connor, discovering he has stolen all the meat from home already, tells her he's going to the shop to buy totally normal kid things, totally not meat to feed to crocodiles.
In a short little scene which is actually fairly amusing, Connor stuffs as much meat as he can get his hands on into his bag and pockets and under his shirt, instead of just grabbing large packets, I'm not sure the crocodiles are fussy enough to want chicken and three varieties of sausage. He runs into the shop owner (the guy driving the truck from the beginning) who demands to know his parents number.
In the woods, Nathan literally runs into a group of people walking in the forest. He tells them he's looking for elk and they look strangely at one another. At the shop Susan chastises Connor for stealing meat, he tries to explain it's for the crocodiles, but his mother tells him to go home to his room, brilliant parenting skills.
Back in the woods with Nathan and the group, they show him what they had come across earlier.
Nathan and the group of hikers discuss what could have decapitated the elk, one thinks it could be a bear, another thinks a cougar. Nathan says it could be a cougar, one named Reba. Cut to Reba, a 40 year old woman who is a hunter. So one of the group suggested it could be an animal called a cougar and Nathan made a joke by saying it was a cougar who is actually a woman, HA, because degrading women's roles in society, especially non traditional ones, is hilarious /end sarcasm.
Nathan tells the hikers that if they run into trouble they can head into his cabin. At the bar, Reba is with a group of men who have booked her to take them on a hunting trip, she tells two of the guys to load their stuff whilst she talks to a guy who just arrived looking for her. He tells her he found her through her website, she says she doesn't have one, he confesses that he actually wants her to find his girlfriend who has gone missing somewhere in the woods. She agrees to help though he didn't actually explain where he heard of her.
Connor returns home and Vica the babysitter taunts him for stealing meat so he taunts her back with the lighter his mother didn't confiscate. He finds a lone sausage in the fridge and decides to take that to his crocodiles instead of waiting for his mother to return and just sneaking out at night with the meat. Vica follows him on her scooter, without a helmet, it's pretty clear the actress had no idea how to ride it. A note to motorcycle riders or pillion passengers, if you get on a motorcycle or scooter without full protective clothing, it's your own damn fault if you get seriously injured or killed. If you come off a scoot at 50 MPH you get just as hurt as if you come off a motorcycle at 50MPH.
Michael Ironside says they'd have to order in sonar equipment, but they have the next best thing at the office, why they didn't look for the hikers who could confirm the head being there, I don't know. Michael Ironside gives Nathan a fish finder that was in his desk, why they didn't use the equipment that Nathan had for tracking the elk collars, I also don't know. Michael Ironside gets out his gun collection, I don't think he has enough guns.
Susan returns home to find no one there and so heads to the cabin, the hikers sunbathe next to the lake. Connor arrives and has blood on him, so of course, Susan is too busy fussing to let him explain about the crocodiles, then Vica comes in, looking like Carrie after her prom, though there's no visible injuries as to where the blood is coming from. The hikers decide to go swimming in the lake, so this is used as an excuse to watch the girls strip off, because real women stand naked in front of each other asking about each others bikinis. One of the hikers who was perving on the girls is bitten by a crocodile in the woods and dragged off.
Susan finally asks Connor to explain whilst cleaning up Vica who is too covered in blood to see her wounds properly, Connor manages to say that he just wanted a pet, before the hiss of a crocodile is heard outside. His crocs head towards the cabin, wanting feeding presumably. Susan blames her own child for all her own faults as a parent.
On Reba's boat, Brett, the mystery boy, sees a crocodile in the water, while Reba gives a brief monologue on hunting, even though I'm a vegetarian, Reba seems awesome. They stop the boat, but a huge crocodile knocks them all into the water and one of the guys is eaten. Reba dives underwater, possibly because she knows something about crocodiles, but Brett pulls up back up and out of the water. The two guys get into a shoving match and they find a partially eaten body in the woods.
Two of the hikers look for their missing friend and the guy bitches at the girl for not wanting to put out and find their friend first, classy. Michael Ironside and Nathan ride across the lake on their boat while Michael Ironside shows Nathan his big guns.
|Not a euphemism|
At the cabin, Nathan arrives and they finally see the crocodiles, well two of them, Susan and Connor take Vica and hide in the bathroom because it has thick walls and Michael Ironside and Nathan shoot the crocodiles before one of them smashes through the underside of their boat destroying it. One of the crocodiles smashes through the cabin window and while Nathan gets to shore and reaches the cabin, Michael Ironside is followed by the giant croc.
|Not even giant crocodiles should fuck with Michael Ironside|
Reba chews Brett out for being a jealous psycho stalker. I love Reba. Reba also uses the elk tracking device, like I suggested earlier, to track the crocodile. I really love Reba.
Nathan and Michael Ironside discuss where the big croc could have come from, Nathan hypothesises that when they introduced the elk to the area, the croc came with them because predators follow their food. Susan tells him that might explain the big one, but the little ones have been there for ages and he should ''talk to your son'', she then leaves the room, nice parenting skills there, Susan.
Nathan, in a stunning display of how not to handle this situation, tells Connor that the crocs aren't his friends and they killed Vica and could kill him, basically blaming his small child for this situation. Connor, being the mature one of the Bickerman clan tells his dad that he liked feeding the crocs and they never hurt him, his parents always leave him on his own, his dad caring more about the elk than him and his mother always working and that they don't take care of him like they should.
|Nathan Bickerman, owned by a 12 year old|
The croc chases after him and Susan gets up, but is useless and falls down again, leaving Nathan to jump out of the car and try to chainsaw off the crocs tail. Vica who is alive, see's the giant croc and locks the cabin door, locking out the Bickerman family and Michael Ironside, though he is passed out in the car. Nathan chainsaws the door to the cabin open and the croc who could not at all fit through the door, magically fits through the door, grabs Vica's leg and drags her out of the cabin.
In the woods, Ellie and the douchey guy find Charlie's body with Brett's jacket covering it, the douchey guy tells Ellie not to be such a little bitch and get up. The douchey guy tells Ellie that Brett is totally cheating on her and hasn't come looking for her at all and leaves her in the woods alone, she tries to walk in the direction of gunshots. The douchey guy runs into a crocodile.
Reba & co discuss what they are tracking, since they aren't aware it's crocs yet, though Reba did speculate about a gator. She tells them she gets the head, if it has three heads the hunter can have one, but she wants the other two, I love her. She tells Brett to own up about being a psycho jealous stalker, he says that the douchey guy has been lying to his girlfriend and telling her that he's cheating on her. To be honest, Brett's been so shady I don't believe that he's not just a crazy stalker anyway. They come across the body of the other hiker girl from earlier and Brett starts shouting for Ellie, bringing one of the crocs out of hiding, with some difficulty Reba shoots it, because croc skin is practically bullet proof, something they seem to have remembered in this movie.
|He was getting ahead of himself|
The croc bites Reba's leg and drags her off as Brett takes a few shots at the croc, leaving Reba to knife it to death herself. Meanwhile Michael Ironside has woken up and tries to drive the car while the croc tries to eat the bumper for some reason and it drags the car into the water somehow. Brett shoots Reba by accident. The giant croc eats Michael Ironside, which is just wrong. The croc attacking Reba runs off but she's badly hurt, shot and bitten, but all she cares about is that her knife was stolen by the crocodile. Well she stabbed it and it ran off with it embedded in it's face. Have I mentioned I love Reba?
Reba says she can't walk very far, so Brett suggests the boat. Reba laments that this is actually the only sensible option they have and if Nathan is there, not to mention the poaching thing. Brett asks about Ellie and has a hissy fit like a big girl because Ellie might be out there and he once read a book on crocodiles saying they must be near by. Reba tells him what a shit he is and tells him he's an idiot. He says he won't get on the boat without Ellie so Reba punches him, knocking him out and drags him to the boat with only one fully working arm and leg. I want to marry this woman.
Reba makes it in the cabin, explaining briefly what happened to her, Brett arrives dramatically a few moments later, presumably having just woken up and insists they have to go back out there and find Ellie. Reba tells him that they are better off in the safe cabin than searching out in the dark, Brett says this is the reason they have to find Ellie, Brett is an idiot, I hope he gets eaten. Brett says it's not up for debate and takes Nathan's gun, holding him at gun point saying he's going to take the boat and find Ellie. I really hope he dies now.
While he's shouting on the boat, Ellie hears him and runs towards the shore. At the cabin Jurassic Park is being re-enacted, by Nathan and Reba.
Nathan tells Connor to run to the bathroom and the croc bites Nathans arm, Reba smashes a chair over the croc as the others run to the bathroom and she stabs it in the head with a knife, because she is a badass.
Brett shouts to Ellie to get away from the water because the huge croc is right next to her, she can't hear him and he rams the shore with the boat, sending him flying as it hits the croc, injuring it. Brett shoots the croc, but the croc grabs him and bites down, this makes me so happy.
At the cabin, Reba enjoys a well earned sit down, as she has cut the head off the crocodile, by herself, with a hunting knife, with an injured leg and a shot shoulder. She says she'll come back for the head as the others grab her to get the hell out of the cabin. I love her so much. Ellie finds the group and they find the boat but it's in pretty bad condition because it was used to run over a crocodile. Reba gets it started though and they manage to get across the lake, but the crocodile is in hot pursuit.
They make it to town, it's raining badly, so they break into the supermarket through the window to use the phone and rest up. Susan asks for a quarter, Ellie points out you don't need money for 911, is it bad to want Susan to die next? The phone is out of order, but the supermarket owner arrives because the alarms are going off. they don't think to check for an office? Connor looks at the packets of meat sadly then goes to check on Reba as the supermarket owner arrives, looking angrily at the kid. Luckily, the giant croc arrives and eats him so the others run into the supermarket as the three remaining crocs come through the window.
|She'll be ok, they have Toffees and Cookie Crisp|
Reba pulls the knife out of the crocs head and starts stabbing it. The big croc knocks over the shelf that Ellie's on, trapping one of the smaller ones below, but leaving Ellie right in front of the big croc. Reba, exhausted, either passes out or dies with the croc on top of her, Ellie runs for it as Nathan gets the exit door open and Susan, Connor & Ellie run through it as Nathan blasts the big croc with a fire extinguisher.
They get into the supermarket guy's car and look for the keys, leading to the bext exchange in the movie.
Ellie: Don't you know how to hot wire it?
Nathan: (deadpan) I'm a zoologist.
Connor jumps out of the car and the adults panic as he grabs the keys off the body, but Nathan puts them in and they start to drive away, but the big croc grabs the bumper and they serve around and drive into the petrol station. The croc is right behind them and Ellie, Susan and Connor jump out and start to run, Nathan puts his credit card in the petrol machine, briefly forgetting his pun number, but then remembering it and covering the croc in petrol. Connor throws his dad Vica's zippo and Nathan throws it at the croc, making it explode. They all take a moment to breathe in the rain as they have escaped the crocodiles.
Morning comes and Ellie is put into an ambulance, Susan gets a blanket for Connor and we transition into Nathan giving a speech, right in front of the lake, with his back to it.
|Asking for it.|
Summary: While it is miles behind the first one, it's streets ahead of Lake placid 2. The characters are their own and not attempted copies of the first movie. It actually manages to be funny in places, though some attempts at humour fall flat on it's face and some of the female characters are cut out clichés and caricatures of real people.
The best character in the film by far is Reba, whose fate was ambigous so if they make if they make a sequel, it should be based around her. Michael Ironside is also good, but dies far too early. Connor is the only sane member of the Bickerman family, even though he was feeding the crocodiles.
Nathan and Susan are terrible parents.
The effects are not great, but they are still better than Lake Placid 2. The film is bogged down whenever we visit the hiker characters and the film would have been better off without them as they contributed nothing really to the plot, they were just crocodile feed.
The last 15 minutes of the film is very exciting and well paced and as the survivors try to escape from the crocodiles, you can be very caught up in it. The film sadly does not offer an explanation as to why the crocodiles, after two years, would suddenly start trying to eat everything in sight, from people, to boats and cars and these silly moments really let the film down. It would also help if they didn't show the crocodiles as much and spent a little bit more on the effects so that when we do see them, they would actually look good.
I probably wouldn't go seeking this movie out if I fancied watching a killer croc movie, but I'd happily watch it if it was on the telly or if someone had it on dvd and put it on. It's kind of fun and certainly not the worst I've seen, in terms of low budget monster movie.
6 & 1/2 out of 10 (five of these points are allotted to Reba)