Genre: Horror Running Time: 1 hr. 28 min.
Release Date: April 28th, 2007 MPAA Rating: R
Director: David Flores Actors: John Schneider, Sarah Lafleur, Sam McMurray, Chad Collins, Alicia Ziegler, Joe Holt, Ian Reed Kesler, Cloris Leachman, V.J. Benson, Jasmina Toshkova
ive people have disappeared from a scummy lake in Aroostook County, Maine, where EPA eco-scientists collect samples for their research. And Tillman (Michael McCoy) becomes the sixth victim when he’s gobbled up by some unknown creature. Sheriff James Riley (John Schneider) is called in to investigate, which gives him some welcome time away from his teenage son Scott (Chad Collins), who has no respect and is currently forced to stay with his father, thanks to a vexatious custody agreement (the youth would much rather be with his mother in Boston).
The locals suspect that a serial killer is at work, but surviving EPA man Frank Mills (Robert Blush) knows that it’s an aquatic monster of sorts. And he has the severed leg and arm of his colleague to prove it. Fish and Wildlife agent Emma Warner (Sarah Lafleur) arrives to aid in the case, though she offers up little expert knowledge other than a statistic: a billion-to-one odds that a mammal, such as a sick bear, could have done this kind of damage. Fortunately, Riley knows a crazy old lady, Sadie Bickerman (Cloris Leachman, playing the sister of Betty White’s Delores from the original 1999 thriller), on the other side of the lake, to whom he can ask if she knows anything about oversized crocodiles in the area.
There’s no mystery in “Lake Placid 2,” since the existence of its predecessor and the advertising aren’t afraid to show off the reptilian culprit. But due to the extreme low-budget (the film was made for television), the picture itself shies away from exhibiting the killer croc, save for a few pitiful CG shots, obscured by watery depths. In fact, most of the attacks are shown with reactions only, or from the point of view of onlookers, so that the creature doesn’t have to interact with its human victims. Ripples of water and trembling tree branches compose the majority of typical encounters. When the monster eventually does turn up, in slowly increasing increments of screen time, it couldn’t be more fake in appearance. Of course, a computer animated biplane is even worse – and entirely unnecessary.
“We’re doing this the humane way.” Emma doesn’t want to harm the beast, especially since it could be the last of its kind. But then there’s Struthers (Sam McMurray), a Crocodile Dundee sort (or the equivalent of Quint from “Jaws”), who wants to bag a great trophy. For the sake of uninformed audiences, he also reads aloud trivia about crocs from a book, foreshadowing death rolls and the various ways in which a crocodile is the perfect killing machine. There are also numerous supporting characters with varying agendas, though they’re mostly for fodder and for gratuitous nudity, such as a group of partiers that includes a girl who needs lotion rubbed on her back, and a twosome of tanned beauties who splash about topless in the water … just so that viewers can watch them splash about topless in water.
The story is incredibly generic, but it’s not the worst piece of “Lake Placid 2.” That honor goes to the dialogue, which is so bad that even the terrible actors can’t make heads or tails of it. Schneider just recites his speeches as if he’s on vacation (or just practicing to make sure his pronunciations are correct; he clearly doesn’t care about what he’s actually saying, or about pausing in between lines for dramatic effect), while Lafleur practically laughs her way through several of the lines. The acting is quite atrocious, but the specific choice of words could hardly be more ridiculous. At least it provides a constant source of unintentional humor.
– Mike Massie