When Lake Placid came out in 1999 it was a bit of a surprise hit and better than it had a right to be, partly because it was a campy ode to monster movies of the 1950's. Still, it was not a film that I thought would have been worthy of generating a sequel, particularly so many years later. Lake Placid 2 originally premiered on the Sci-Fi Channel several months ago but has now been released on DVD in an unrated version. More on that in a moment.
Once again were back at the quaint Maine setting and the serene lake where the first film took place. John Schneider is Sheriff Riley, living with his teenaged son Scott (Chad Collins). I have to say that Schneider looks very good. With his hair longer, he looks almost as young as he did in his Dukes of Hazzard days, and much younger than he did in Smallville. Unfortunately Schneider seems to know he's in a bit of a clunker here and doesn't generate a lot of electricity for a guy in the lead role.
The plot in Lake Placid is pretty identical to the first film with just new characters: Small town sheriff, cute co-star Emily(Lefleur) who is an agent of the Fish & Wildlife department, and another crazy old hag. This time its scary looking Cloris Leachman playing Sadie Bickerman, the sister of Betty White's character from the original film. With two Mary Tyler Moore show alums used so far, who's on tap for Lake Placid 3, Valerie Harper?
Anyway, after the first crocodile attack, Riley mobilizes his, um, deputy to begin a search of the lake along with Emily who is apparently an old flame but that's never complexly explained. Their search is interrupted by the appearance of a big game hunter named Struthers and his assistant Ahmad who've come to kill the beast. Meanwhile, Scott and his friends have picked that day to go swimming in the lake and I'm sure you can guess what happens to most of them.
So what makes the DVD unrated? A little swearing and some topless girls. Granted, the girls are damn hot but they are killed very quickly. Honestly there's about 90 seconds of material...maybe...which make the movie "unrated" over what was shown on TV. The CGI is typical of a Sci-Fi channel film...in other words...bad. I've seen documentaries on the Discovery Channel, which had better CGI effects than this film. There's just no believing that the croc is interacting with the actors at any time. Making matters worse is the actors themselves to a weak job in making the scenes believable. There are several occasions where the actors are within arm's reach of the cros but you'd think they were standing close to a poodle rather than a man-eating animal.
I don't mind a film being bad if it at least has a campy quality to this that Lake Placid did not. Betty White's foul-mouthed character was a scream...Cloris Leachman's character just makes you want to scream in terror. The DVD does come with two VERY short featurettes, each only about four minutes in length, adding little value to the DVD This could have been much better!