Lake Placid: The Final Chapter (2012)

Lake Placid: The Final Chapter (2012)

It’s anything but tasteless…

Black Lake is swarming with giant crocodiles and so after the previous problems with people being killed, a large electrified perimeter fence is erected all the way around to stop the crocs getting out and people getting in. However that doesn’t deter a group of teenagers who sneak in whilst on a school trip and soon find themselves on the menu.

 

Will this series ever stop? This is the fourth entry into the Lake Placid series, each getting progressively worse. I don’t see the attraction. Lake Placid was a slightly diverting little timewaster back in the late 90s which probably garnered more attention that it should have done given the high profile cast but was sliced to bits by the critics and performed poorly in the box office. It has since gone on to receive some minor cult acclaim but let’s face it: it wasn’t good enough to warrant a sequel, let alone three sequels!

Following on from the previous instalment by bringing back Yancy Butler’s bad ass hunter character in a new job as the game warden (even though it looked like she was dead), Lake Placid: The Final Chapter at least tries to connect itself with the previous films. Butler was the best thing about the last film and is arguably the best thing here, continuing her overacting through spunky delivery with a host of cracking lines that tell it how it is to the other characters. Unfortunately she’s the only one in the film to even try which is a real pity as genre legend Robert Englund has a small role but completely phones it in.

So what’s new in the series? Well not a lot. After ditching its original North American location shoot, these films now use a Bulgarian lake to double up for its Canadian counterpart. Though the setting looks beautiful, it still reminded me of every other Sy Fy film that had been shot in Bulgaria as they tend to use the same locations. Given the recycled nature of material on display, it’s hard to distinguish between what happens here and what happens in similar creature feature films. And that’s Lake Placid: The Final Chapter‘s most obvious problem – it’s not memorable in the slightest. No standout performer. No standout kill. No standout nudity. No standout soundtrack. No standout monster. Nothing. Just another off the production line. This time next year, I’ll no doubt be saying the same thing about the umpteenth killer crocodile film.

Frequent creature attacks with dubious CGI effects are the hallmarks of the overwhelming wave of Sy Fy / Asylum monster movies of late and if you think you’re going to get through Lake Placid: The Final Chapter without seeing some, think again. The crocs look terrible, some of the worst I’ve seen (and that’s saying something). There’s always something a bit more realistic and believable in actors being munched down by animatronic models but when you’ve got massive CGI crocs that can run nearly as fast as a truck and sneak up on people without making a sound, then you’ve got an entirely different style of film. This one doesn’t play to the laws of nature, having the crocs do all sorts of things that real crocs wouldn’t be able to do as easily, if at all. Sadly, this just disconnects the film from reality – we’re never going to be scared of anything that we know isn’t possible and seeing the crocs move as fast and stealthily as they do here will generate chuckles rather than scares.

The crocs are well fed, which is a given with these films now, but the attacks come too regular, are over with too quickly and follow the same pattern. Would one slow, brutal mauling be more effective to the audience than continually showing us the same thing which over and done within a couple of seconds? Think back to Jaws and how few people the shark kills but the attack scenes aren’t just over and done with, the camera dwells on them for a few minutes to revel in nature’s cruelty. Lake Placid: The Final Chapter, and the rest of these creature feature films, equate the number of people killed on screen with scaring the audience. There’s no emotional attachment to anyone in the film. The slew of minor non-characters who are introduced only to get killed moments later detaches the carnage from any empathic connection.

Films like this need filler too and before the crocs are well and truly unleashed upon the cast in the second half of the film, the first half of the film is devoted to building characters, exploring back story and generally trying to pass the time as generically as possible. Single mom with a teenage daughter and a single father and a teenage son who are drawn together in the midst of a crisis sounds like the sort of yucky material that the film needs….oh wait that’s what happens. Pass me the sick bucket as I wait for the crocs to finally start snacking.

 

It should be said that no one in their right mind would sit down to watch Lake Placid: The Final Chapter without having a) a tolerance for truly woeful films, b) the desire to see every film in a series no matter how terrible they are, or c) actually enjoy this sort of rubbish. I kind of fall into all categories but even so, Lake Placid: The Final Chapter pushed me to my limits. The worst thing is that despite the title, the end shot promises more to come……..urgh.

 

 ★★☆☆☆☆☆☆☆☆ 

 

 

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