Saturday, June 28, 2014

REVIEW: LAKE PLACID (Scream Factory Blu-ray) - The Croc Is Still Working

Sometimes your preconception of a movie is completely off-base. Now I know that we all talk about watching movies, not judging them by their trailer and most of all actually watching movies rather than taking for fact the opinions of others on movies we haven't ourselves put our eyeballs on. This is the correct attitude to take. Watch movies. Do not watch opinions. Well I feel like Lake Placid got the short end of the stick with me from the get go. I never liked the concept of the movie or rather I though that I was in for a knock off of Lewis Teague's Alligator albeit set in a rural environment. Of course I was 100% wrong, but it would only take actually watching the movie to realize that. I had the good fortune of enjoying it in full recently after having only scene some of the more violent scenes from the movie in clips. I was surprised at just how much I laughed and how much gore was throw around screen. Steve Miner can be a cruel butcher to his cast of characters if you're not on the A list. While 1999's Lake Placid could have easily been a shape of things to come in terms of SyFy original fodder, it's actually a rather successful large animal/monster picture with plenty of humor, buckets of gore and Betty White. Scream Factory has decided to taint your upcoming visit to the lake with visions of a man-eating, giganto-sized Croc from prehistory. Make sure to look for signs that say No Swimming or Don't Feed the Crocs before you jump into that kayak. 

Synopsis from Scream Factory:

Bill Pullman (Independence Day, The Grudge), Bridget Fonda (Jackie Brown), Brendan Gleeson (In Bruges) and Oliver Platt (X-Men: First Class) share an appetite for sheer adventure when a tranquil New England lakefront erupts into an action-packed den of destruction in this "monster of a hit" (Wireless Magazine)!

An investigative team, armed with state-of-the-art equipment, high-powered weaponry and a biting sense of sarcasm, must work together to defeat Black Lake's most ferocious resident: a 30-foot prehistoric crocodile! 

The minute that I realized that Oliver Platt was in Lake Placid I knew that I had been wrong all along about this one. I loved him in Flatliners and in the Big C recently as well as any other movie or TV show you can put him in. He's actually a favorite actor of mine that I never consider to be a favorite actor until I watch him create Lewis Black moments of pure social commentary wrapped with intense, opinionated rants or pulling profanity as if it was taffy.  His matter-of-fact, fast past, insult ridden style of humor is contagious. In this move in particular it is the perfect balance to Bill Pullman's straight man routine and Bridget Fonda (ever-hot) jubilant, enthusiastic performance. Platt makes the movie for me, but the entire cast does one heck of a job at delivering a horror movie that is quite funny rather than a horror comedy. 

The gore is over the top. Perfectly so, with buckets of blood from the get-go with a severed body in the first ten minutes. A bloody gush stump of a body mind you. While there's plenty of computer graphic work done in the film, the gore is mostly practical and practically perfect. That means that it isn't ultra-realistic violence. It's the natural progression of H.G. Lewis's beautiful Crayola red blood.

The disc includes interviews with Steve Miner, Bill Pullman and Daryn Okada (D.O.P.) as well as new interviews with the special effects team. Also included is a vintage featurette. Of course the extra package is miss Betty White but the anecdotes about her take on the movie are precisely as is his fantastic ability to deliver a filthy rotten one-liner. Good looking disc. 1080p HD  Master Audio 5.1. It comes as a Collector's edition with reversible alternate cover art. 

Of all the movies that Scream Factory is releasing this summer, this is the only one that has that giant monster appeal. It will have crossover appeal between fans of action, horror and comedy and will resonate well with an audience who still is very aware of the comedy of Betty White. Lake Placid is a Scream Factory disc to sink your teeth into. The extras are as enjoyable as the movie with moments of perfect, very real humor in the stories shared by the cast that seemed to have a damn good time making this picture. CG Croc? Don't even fret (and that comes from a sworn enemy of modern horror movie computer graphics). Of course...there were two sequels. 

You can order Lake Placid now. Available July 8th. The Summer of Fear goes water skiing and croc wrangling. Don't forget your rubbers.

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