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Lake Placid 2 (2007)

20th Century Fox Home Entertainment
DVD Released: 1/29/2008

All Ratings out of

Review by Mike Long, Posted on 1/9/2008

Some movies simply tempt writers to come up with clever quips for their reviews. Typically, critics like to take either the film's title, or a plot keyword from the movie and do a play on words. Take Lake Placid 2 for example. I could say that this movie, which is about marauding crocodiles, is a "croc of s*%t". Or, I could reference the terrible special effects and say, "Oh yeh, it's more like 'Lake Plastic'". But, this film doesn't deserve that kind of creativity. Lake Placid 2 is simply an awful movie.

In what can only be considered a rare occurrence, Lake Placid 2 is a direct sequel to 1999's Lake Placid, which was written by David E. Kelley of Ally McBeal and Boston Legal fame. (Does he know that he wrote that? Does Michelle Pfeiffer know that he wrote that?) This is a rarity because these movies typically share nothing but the title with their predecessor. The story takes place on the same lake in Maine as the first film. There has been a recent rise in the number of disappearances on the lake. When researcher Frank's (Robert Blush) partner is pulled from their boat, he reports this to Sheriff Riley (John Schneider), who promises to look into it. Meanwhile, Riley's son, Scott (Chad Collins), is visiting Maine for the summer, and he accepts an invitation to go camping with Kerri (Alicia Ziegler) and her friends.

When Riley arrives at the lake to begin his investigation, he's met by wildlife official (and old flame) Emily (Sarah Lafleur). They aren't out on the water very long when they spot a giant crocodile. They visit Sadie Bickerman (Cloris Leachman), who's late sister (Betty White from the first movie) was known to have sheltered the crocs who first plagued the lake, but she denies any knowledge of creatures. Soon, big-game hunter Struthers (Sam McMurray) and his assistant Ahmad (Joe Holt) arrive as Struthers hopes to bag the creature and get a trophy. Riley and his group will soon learn that they aren't prepared to deal with giant crocodiles.

While watching Lake Placid 2, my wife said, "This looks like a bad TV movie." And actually, it is, as it premiered on Sci-Fi Channel. However, "bad TV movie" is a woeful understatement when describing the putrid quality of this movie.

The only way (that I know) to review Lake Placid 2 is to simply list the problems with the movie. The script is nothing but a low-budget rehashing of the first movie -- with everything on a much smaller scale. We have the sheriff, the animal expert, the big-game hunter, and the crazy old lady, just as in the original. But, where the original had several sheriff's deputies, elaborate traps, and a helicopter, Lake Placid 2 has just the sheriff, one trap, and a CGI plane. As with many sequels, Lake Placid 2 does try to up the ante on the first film, which means that we get even more crocodiles and many more deaths. Actually, I can't think of a recent movie in this genre with a body count as high as Lake Placid 2. I'm not giving anything away here, but nearly every character dies. (I guess that will give them a fresh start when Lake Placid 3: Crocodile Rock gets the green light). The acting in this movie is atrocious. This may have something to do with the fact that the movie was shot in Bulgaria and they probably used local actors. I know that the actor playing Frank sounds as if he's dubbed throughout the film and the guy playing the reporter looked as if he's simply wandered onto the set.

While everything listed above is certainly bad, the special effects are really the icing on the cake here. The crocodiles are portrayed in two ways. First, we have a floating crocodile body which is clearly being pulled through the water. Every other appearance is CGI and it's some of the worst CG that I've ever seen. If Ed Wood, who should have no knowledge of CGI, suddenly rose from his grave, he's say, "Wow, that looks fake! I need to put on a dress." The crocodiles look as if they escaped from a PlayStation 1 game. (Perhaps the immortal Resident Evil 2.) They have a shiny, waxy look and they move in a jerky motion. The size of the crocodiles is constantly changing and when they are next to humans the scale is never consistent. We are treated to several "attack" shots where the crocs lunge at a person, and the scene then cuts to the actor with a bloody hand, leg, etc. It's not surprising that a low-budget made for TV movie would have sub-par special effects, but these are so bad that they kept pulling me out of the movie.

Lake Placid was by no means a great film, but it was fun and had some nice "jump" scares. This fun-loving spirit is not present in Lake Placid 2 and the movie is pure trash. I know that many people hated Lake Placid and they'll question what kind of God would let a movie like Lake Placid 2 even exist.

Lake Placid 2 death rolls onto DVD courtesy of 20th Century Fox Home Entertainment. The movie has been letterboxed at 1.78:1 and the transfer is enhanced for 16 x 9 TVs. The transfer actually looks very good, as the image is very sharp and clear. I noted no grain or defects from the source material. The constant daytime shots of the lake have a very nice depth and the blue water looks nice against the green trees of the shoreline. There was some video noise in places, but otherwise the video was good. The DVD has a Dolby Digital 5.1 audio track which provides clear dialogue and sound effects. There were a few good stereo effects and anytime a croc came on land I noted some bass response, but there was a notable lack of surround sound action.

The Lake Placid 2 DVD contains three bonus features. "Sex, Guns, and Croc-n-Roll" (4 minutes) is simply a mixture of behind-the-scenes footage and clips set to music. There is no real consistency here nor are there what could be considered "interviews" with the cast. "Surviving a Crocodile Attack" (4 minutes) is simply a series of text "tips" (purportedly real) inter-cut with scenes from the movie. "Lake Placid 2: The "Gnawed Up" Version" (9 minutes) is a condensed version of the movie which stops only to show the crocodile attacks (and gratuitous nudity). I recommend viewing the film this way.

Review Copyright 2008 by Mike Long