Well folks I am back with the end of sequels that really didn’t need to be and what better way to round that out than with another creature feature series than a series of killer crocodiles not indigenous to the area. So strap on your meat suits, grab your stupid signs and don’t bother wondering what’s in the lake with you. This is Lake Placid Collective.
Spoilers stay around where the prey is…
In 1999, TV writer David E. Kelly (L.A. Law, The Practice, Ally McBeal and Boston Legal) took a whack at a treatment that got enough love to be made into a feature film that has been a cult classic. Lake Placid is helmed by Director Steve Miner (Friday the 13th Part 2, Friday the 13th Part III, House, Warlock, Forever Young and Halloween H20: 20 Years Later) is probably more used to biped creatures that don’t seem to die rather than a creature out of its usual element. In Black Lake Maine lurks a 30 foot saltwater crocodile munching its way through the ecosystem. Fish and Game are doing a survey on perch in the area and notice unusual drag marks in the mud. A paleontologist from The American Museum of Natural History (Bridget Fonda of Godfather Part III, Point of No Return, Singles, Army of Darkness and Kiss of the Dragon) is to examine a tooth that may be part of the cause depopulation in wild life. The local sheriff (Brendan Gleeson of The General, Mission: Impossible II, Wild About Harry, Troy and Beowulf) is dragging his feet on the possibility that there is a huge predator around this massive lake until he find decapitated moose head and head of a Fish and Game deputy.
What makes this film so enjoyable is Mrs. Delores Bickerman (Betty White of Mama’s Family, Golden Girls, Pound Puppies, Boston Legal, Hot in Cleveland) as a crotchety mature woman with the most vulgar mouth raising and feeding said croc and Professor of ancient mythology and crocodile fanatic Hector Cyr (Oliver Platt of Flatliners, Diggstown, The Three Musketeers and Three to Tango). These two have some of the best lines and as mix mashed as the group feels it all coalesced together. With a massive amount of tranquilizers the croc is taken in alive. All is well until a second croc appears and the sheriff gets to vaporize it with a 40 mm grenade launcher. God bless rednecks, huh? As our film comes to an end we see Mrs. Bickerman feeding infant crocs thus bringing us to…yeah a sequel. What, do you want a cookie for getting that right? Moocher.
Lake Placid 2 is helmed by Syfy Channel director David Flores (Boa vs Python, S.S. Doomtrooper and Sands of Oblivion) appears on the scene 8 years later after the original was made. Bit of a delay but hey Syfy channel needs their creature features somehow. We do the cliché that Mrs. Bickerman passed on and her sister Sadie (Cloris Leachman of Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid, Young Frankenstein, Mary Tyler Moore and It Happened One Christmas) now has the house by the lake as well as there’s a new sheriff in town and his name is Bo Duke…er…um I mean James Riley (John Schneider of Dukes of Hazzard, Loving, Touched by an Angel, Nip/ Tuck and Smallville)and well this Duke boy finds shenanigans in this made-for-tv movie with unrated scenes via DVD only. This means if you find the lack of original plot annoying, don’t fret because boobies are on the scene. The CGI of the crocs looks unfinished, they move like at the speed of pregnant yak and the Fish and Game apparently have access to military hardware. Sadie apparently had been feeding the crocs meat with growth hormones and this is the reason they were enormous but not why they were badly digitized. Pa Kent takes out the crocs and yet no one does a sweep of the area for a nest thus leading to…yeah you know it.
Lake Placid 3 is tackled by Mockbuster director Griff Furst (Universal Soldiers, I Am Omega, 100 Million BC and Swamp Shark)
A year later from the second incident and a couple of teens munched for screwing on a mud bank later; Sadie Bickerman passed away…off camera (Cloris either didn’t want to do a sequel or asked for more money) and her nephew EPA Agent Nathan (Colin Ferguson of Rowing Through, The Opposite of Sex, Because I Said So and Eureka), busybody real estate wife Susan (Kristy Mitchell of The Royal Today, The Bill, Triassic Attack and Silent Witness) and delightful scamp son Connor (Jordan Grehs of Oliver Twist, Scoop and Just William). Young Connor discovers baby crocodiles and more or less adopts them by feeding them meat. Yes genius does run high in the Bickerman gene pool. The current sheriff Tony Willinger (Michael Ironside of Scanners, Highlander 2: The Quickening, Total Recall and Bloodsuckers) assures Nathan that the sweep he did over a year and a half ago points to no more crocs in the area and everything is just tickety boo. Nathan notices a drastic decrease in Elk and goes to investigate believing it to be a poacher Reba (Yancy Butler of Savage Weekend, Drop Zone, Witchblade, Wolvesbayne and Kick-Ass). Oh don’t worry about the crocs, they look almost believable now and there are also boobies for the guys yet again. Thanks Unrated DVD! Yeah so basically same plot with same jump scares and humans triumph over crocs…or did they?
Lake Placid: The Final Chapter is brought to us by not the number 4 but director Don Michael Paul (Renegade, Pacific Blue, Half Past Dead and The Garden) Reba (Yancy Butler of Savage Weekend, Drop Zone, Witchblade, Wolvesbayne and Kick-Ass) ,former poacher of Lake Placid 3 somehow survived getting shot and chewed on by crocs; decides to be on the side of the angels as an EPA Agent and Black Lake has become a secluded crocodile sanctuary. Think about 300 acres worth. The area is fenced off and the waters are gated until the friggin gate is left unlocked??!! Man I don’t leave my house door unlocked. Mind you I just have a couple of cats but you get my point. Pesky teens get on the land in question and another fricking Bickerman strikes in these here waters. Poacher Jim Bickerman (Robert Englund of Eaten Alive, A Nightmare on Elm Street, The Mangler and Hatchet) gives a great performance whilst there is running about, teenies screaming and getting naked prior and oh yes big fricking guns. Oh yes, yet another sheriff Theresa Giove (Elisabeth Rohm of Angel, Law and Order, Miss Congeniality 2 and Abduction) hard hitting, tough as nails gal with her deputy Nermal. Yes the world’s cutest kitty cat has a gun? Well you can guess the plot overall and it was mildly entertaining but only the original made me laugh as much and frankly SyFy went apeshit over a film that unfortunately got a lukewarm response at the box office. Much love in rental and purchase though. That is my take on this series and hopefully you may find something beloved in it that I missed. Always glad to hear some input.