Sunday, 27 March 2016

Lake Placid 2

Title: Lake Placid 2
Director: David Flores
Released: 2007
Starring: John Schneider, Sarah Lafleur, Sam McMurray, Chad Michael Collins, Alica Ziegler, Joe Holt, Cloris Leachman

Plot: Several years after the events of the first film a new spate of crocodile attacks begin happening leaving Sheriff James Riley (Schneider) to team up with Wildlife officer Emma Warner(Lafleur) to try and track down the killer croc before it devours its next victim

Review: Coming almost 10 years after the underrated original and seemingly only churned out because the Sony and the Sci-fi Channel (always a worrying sign to seem them involved in anything) were looking for a film they could easily turn into a franchise especially considering how quickly parts 3 + 4 followed it. Shot though on a paltry budget of $2 million compared to the original films budget of $27 million while also being shot in Bulgaria though honestly I couldn’t tell that it wasn’t the same location as the first film.

Despite the title there is hardly any kind of attempt to connect to the original film outside of a passing refrence to the killer crocodile attacks and the old coot Mrs Bickerman now being replaced by her sister Sadie (Leachman) who for some unknown reason is also fond of feeding these crocodiles which have once more grown to gigantic proportions thanks to be being fed meat heavy in growth hormones aswell as the occasional out of timer who it seems are equally game for her to feed to the crocs.

If anything though this plays like a more rural version of “Alligator” not only with the growth hormone enhanced Crocodile, but also for the introduction of the great white hunter Stuthers played here by Sam McMurray who also gives us one of the worst Irish accent ever, while almost constantly berating his assistant and much more proficient hunter Ahmad (Holt).  Like all the characters the relationship between Stuthers and Ahmad is irritatingly underused as we are forced instead to settle for the same half-baked character development that everyone else in the film gets if any with many of the more disposable cast members coming off more like cutouts than real characters. This is none the more true than with the local youths that Sheriff Riley’s son Scott (Collins) heads off into the wood with to party, after being invited by local girl Kerri (Ziegler) whose lughead of a boyfriend Thad (Kesler) pretty much spells out from their first meeting what is going to happen to them.

Unlike the original film which managed to balance comedy with some great jump scares and genuine tension, this film is much more of a confused mess as the tone largely remains jokey, despite many of the characters seemingly being played seriously. Schneider meanwhile once more drags out his good-ole-boy stique as he continues his run of low budget creature features like “Shark Swarm” which I couldn’t but wonder if it’s ever got him missing those “Smallville” paychecks that would save him from this kind of dreck.

One of my major issues with this film and so many of these cookie cutter creature features that the Sci-fi channel (or Syfi as its known these days) and the Asylum continue to churn out is with the actual crocodile effects. With the original we had both practical and CGI effects used to great effect but what we get here instead is just a bunch of badly rendered CGI crocs which end up coming off laughable whenever they are on the screen, with the extensive use of CGI for the gore effects aswell only adding to the issue which is only the more frustrating when you have great moments like arms being chomped off only for them to look flat and cheap because of these cost cutting measures. It of course only begs the question as to why these production houses continue to cut corners when it comes to their marquee monsters or is it just another sign of the lowering of standards as these studios intentionally seem to be aiming to make films which are this bad, perhaps hoping to cash in on the same trash cinema appeal of the b-movie forefathers like Ed Wood and Roger Corman without realising that they were actually trying to make good films with their productions.

While pretty samey for the most part the action scenes here do throw out the occasional surprise such as a plane being randomly harpooned or one of the teens falling out of a tree he’d been hiding in and landing on one of the crocodile which he bizarrely comments as being a soft landing, which considering the leathery skin of crocodiles I have to doubt this claim slightly, though it is one of the few comedic moments which actually hits its mark. Largely though when it comes to the action we seem to have this constant cycle of ambush crocodile, shoot at it for a bit and then loose a team member with no real attempts to ever change up this plan as they constantly seem to believe that this plan will work on the 4th or 5th attempt.  

Seeing how I still have another two sequels to go not counting the recent attempts to cross over the series with “Lake Placid Vs. Anaconda” this film does not bode well for what lies ahead, especially if this film is anything to go off the standard for these spin off’s. Ultimately this is not worth checking out as it’s devoid of even the base level charms that tend to drag you though these kinds of movies, while it really only further drives home the point when even the quick flash of gratuitous nudity can’t help to relieve the tedium I felt with this one. Just rewatch the original instead.

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