It’s hard to dislike Lake Placid: The Final Chapter.
Undoubtedly it’s incredibly amateurish, what with it being a heady mix of minimal budget, rushed production and diabolical acting, but you can’t accuse it of not knowing its place, being as it is a direct to TV sequel to a franchise no one really cared about in the first place.
Oddly, for a film with such a B-movie premise (20 foot crocs on the rampage through a sleepy backwater dump) it takes a while to get going. There are minimal shots of mutant reptilians for the first half an hour, as the film dedicates itself to character introductions, exposition and scene setting.
We find out the Sheriff (played by Elisabeth Rohm, best known to sci-fi aficionados for her role in Angel) has a thing for the military chap brought in to contain the crocodile menace, all the while trying to keep the naturally concerned townsfolk assured, whilst the game warden (played with world weary aplomb by a ‘game’ Yancy Butler) has an environmentalist to contend with, one who thinks that despatching 20 foot flesh eating crocodiles would make the world a worse and lonelier place.
He has ‘DEAD’ written on his forehead from the off.
Once the action picks up, and a busful of handsome teens with a propensity for skinny dipping and midnight quickies end up slap bang in the middle of the danger zone, things get fun. Butler’s the best thing in the film, her character quipping like a backwater John McClane, and she clearly enjoys playing her character. Robert Englund (playing a total git of a poacher) is always good value too, gurning and wrinkling his eyes as he plots away.
By no means is it a masterpiece, but given its natural home (it was made for a lazy Saturday evening’s viewing on television) it’s perfectly entertaining nonsense. Even the things that would usually hold it back, the dreadful special effects and shonky acting, add to its low budget, brainless charm.
Given its heritage, there’s a lot more to it than a whole litany of cheap hashed out sequels.