At the end of the 1990s, movies like Anaconda, Deep Blue Sea, and Lake Placid launched a resurgence of nature strikes back flicks in the form of snake, shark, and crocodile movies. They’ve lived on for over two decades, many of them in the form of endless franchises on the SyFy channel. So, it was time to dig out the Lake Placid sequel DVDs and do a summer weekend marathon.
LAKE PLACID 2 (2007)
Despite the horrible CGI crocs (sometimes they look like they’re actually walking on water), I find the sequel to the original theatrical film to be much funnier and more fun.
It all begins with the good old underwater POV before a guy from the Environmental Protection Agency gets gobbled down.
Betty White’s sister, played by Cloris Leachman, has taken over the croc feeding responsibilities. Only instead of cows, she’s just pushing humans off the dock. Too bad she isn’t in the film more, because she’s a blast for the three or four minutes total screen time she gets.
John Schneider is the sheriff, and his rebellious teen son has come to stay with him.
Naturally, the son finds a bunch of pretty people to sneak off into the woods with for some swimming by the lake. And naturally, natural selection will make croc food of all the douche bags in the group before the film is done.
Meanwhile, Schneider and a funny team go searching for answers to the missing EPA guy (well…the rest of the EPA guy).
They spend the film encountering and battling the crocs (yes, there’s more than one this time), and even have a hottie with them who can kill crocs with a knife.
LAKE PLACID 3 (2010)
The third installment totally goes for it, starting with some skinny dipping featuring man butt and a hilarious sexual kill scene.
Colin Ferguson, who has been in loads of stuff but I can only picture as the Maytag man, is a zoologist who is somehow related to Betty White and Cloris Leachman.
When he moves into their cabin with his family, it’s his young son who starts feeding the crocodiles…until they eat a dog.
Then the screaming starts.
Michael Ironside is the sheriff, and he’s as perfectly dry and casually domineering as we expect from Michael Ironside.
And sci-fi/horror tough girl Yancy Butler is on hand as a poacher who unintentionally lures other victims into the woods, while bringing the campy fun aspects to the film.
The croc spends most of its time trying to infiltrate Ferguson’s cabin, and that eventually transitions over to a grocery store.
Oddly, this family angle is more serious, but the ridiculous battles with CGI crocs at least make it laughable.
LAKE PLACID: THE FINAL CHAPTER (2012)
This is how you start a sequel. Yancy Butler picks herself up off the floor of the grocery store in which the last film ends and returns to the lake to fight another day.
Only now the lake is fenced off as a croc sanctuary. But the gate is accidentally left open. The new sheriff looks a whole lot like Kate Hudson, and her teen daughter’s field trip school bus ends up on the wrong side of the fence.
After a lot of hanging around with the kids in the woods at night, a guy pees in the water while watching two naked girls swimming…and gets his dick bit off. I needed that.
Indeed, this is the first entry in the series that turns into a good old teens being led to the slaughter flick, and it all kicks off with a total Piranha rip-off scene of a guy being torn to pieces by a school of baby crocs.
The sheriff’s daughter even ends up in the croc’s lair fishing a ringing phone from a croc’s mouth.
Yeah, this installment really jumps the…um…croc.
Even Robert Englund is forced into the plot, mostly for the final act, as yet another relative of Betty White, angry that he didn’t inherit the cabin.
LAKE PLACID VS. ANACONDA (2015)
Robert Englund is back, and ***previous film SPOILER*** despite having been chomped through the middle of his body in his final scene of The Final Chapter, he now has a hook for a hand, a patch over an eye, and a fake leg. Not to mention, he’s also a pretty unnecessary character after he delivers a croc to a company that wants to crossbreed them with anacondas.
However, snake and croc escape the facility, and it’s back to the lake.
Yancy Butler is now the sheriff, and while she has some great lines again, she seems kind of tired of fighting crocs.
As is always the case in SyFy horror that takes place in the wilderness, there are way too many separate groups roaming the woods, and although this is a creature feature crossover, there are barely enough of either snakes of crocs for a majority of the film.
The saving grace is a bunch of sorority girls soaking up the sun by the lake. It takes 45 minutes, but finally the crocs attack all these bitches in bikinis, and the girls absolutely steal the show with some fantastic campy horror comedy reactions to their predicament…although a croc tossing a snake up into helicopter blades to kill two birds with one stone is another highlight.
LAKE PLACID: LEGACY (2018)
I think this is considered a reboot or an origins story or something like that, but it just feels like another sequel to me, considering a group of young environmental activists breaks into a fenced off facility in the middle of the lake and is soon being attacked by giant crocs.
Because it takes itself seriously, Legacy is definitely a shift away from the hokey fun we’ve grown accustomed to with this franchise. I guess it’s a little more suspenseful, but it’s not exactly a terrifying experience and is as generic as a creature feature gets.
After first encountering the croc while on their boat, the group spends the film exploring the facility while trying to figure out how to escape the island safely.
That at least makes this a much darker outing than previous installments, and the murky settings definitely up the atmosphere.
There’s a tunnel attack that gave me flashbacks to the giant alligator boss battle from Resident Evil 2, and the place eventually gets flooded, requiring some underwater escape scenarios. Gotta be honest—I was kind of living for the shots of the CGI croc swimming directly towards the camera.