***DISCLAIMER*** The following review is entirely my opinion. If you comment (which I encourage you to do) be respectful. If you don't agree with my opinion (or other commenters), that's fine. To each their own. These reviews are not meant to be statements of facts or endorsements, I am just sharing my opinions and my perspective when watching the film and is not meant to reflect how these films should be viewed. Finally, the reviews are given on a scale of 0-5. 0, of course, being unwatchable. 1, being terrible. 2, being not great. 3, being okay. 4, being great and 5, being epic! And if you enjoy these reviews feel free to share them and follow the blog or follow me on Twitter (@RevRonster) for links to my reviews and the occasional live-Tweet session of the movie I'm watching. When a franchise claims it is "The Final Chapter," it kinda feels like the old rock stars who say that this latest tour is their "farewell tour."
Lake Placid: The Final Chapter – 2 out of 5
Here we are. We are at the fourth film in the franchise about giant, killer crocodiles in a single isolated lake in Maine; Lake Placid: The Final Chapter. Sometimes it is downright impressive when franchises that make no money can somehow make it this far but, goddamn it, Lake Placid did it! I’m being a tad mean here but the films are entertaining in their own unique ways—not because they are good (except the first one is decent) but rather due to the reality that they are so poorly constructed that they are funny. Unlike the other films, though, this one is a direct sequel that actually has a returning character. So, it has that going for it. Also, it’s probably the best of the sequels I’ve watched so far…but, as you can see from my score, it’s not a huge improvement. It’s still an improvement though. So that’s good.
|I like to believe that Reba tracked down Nathan|
from the last film and punched him in the face
for leaving her to die.
After surviving the previous croc attack, Reba (Yancy Butler) gives up her life as a poacher and joins the EPA. The area of Black Lake, with the help of the Army Corps of Engineers, has now become a sanctuary to the giant crocodiles and has been fenced off with giant electric fencing. However, an incident allows for a poacher named Jimmy (Robert Englund) to enter the sanctuary and the gate to the area is left open. The local sheriff; Teresa Giove (Elisa Röhm), lets her daughter Chloe (Poppy Lee Friar) head out with the swim team for a camping trip at nearby Clear Lake; however, due to a completely incompetent bus driver and that open gate, they end up heading directly into the Black Lake sanctuary. Now Reba and the sheriff must work together to try and get the kids out before they become croc food.
|Chloe (in the middle) is probably regretting this trip. Socializing never |
ends well. Also, the swim coach looks like a ghost or a store brand Kyle MacLachlan...
I am not going to sit here and argue that The Final Chapter is a great movie and something that lives up to the fun of the first film. It is far from that. However, it is an improvement from the last two films. An improvement on many elements—especially from the story’s perspective.
|I don't know if I missed it or not and it got explained but there is a lot of watercraft |
just sitting around in Black Lake.
|She used to kill animals, now she protects them...|
by being ready to kill them at a moment's notice.
I stated in my review of the previous two films (what’s that? You want to read them? Well, my friend, you can see them here and here), I felt the stories came off like they were made up on the spot while filming occurred. They felt like they had a primitive outline and then decided to just “wing it” on set. This one, aside from being an actual direct sequel with a returning character, actually had a pretty solid story that definitely felt like it knew where it wanted to go and how to get there. Now, I won’t argue that the story is incredible or compelling, but it didn’t feel slapped together. I will admit, however, that I did like the idea of Black Lake being fenced off like an attraction at Jurassic Park for the crocs to live and thrive in. That aspect alone really set this sequel apart from the others and made it stand out.
|What do they got in there, King Kong?|
It still gets super generic and has a lot of silliness with its development (for example, the swim team ends up in the sanctuary because the pervy bus driver is not watching the road and just watching a video of a woman in her underwear on the phone—he also exposes himself to some of the swim team later and that is just gross) but respect where respect is due that this one is able to be partially unique after two very messy previous sequels.
|Pictured: The pervy bus driver.|
|Pictured: The low res undie video that captured the attention of|
the driver so completely that he didn't realize he took a wrong turn.
|Pictured: The comeuppance to the pervy driver where he got his dick|
bitten off after exposing it to some of the girls on the swim team.
|"Wait! We need to exchange insurance info!"|
|That million dollar electric fence is starting to pay for itself!|
|Let's be real, it's fun to see Englund show up in|
low-budget horror movies.
The cast in this one is a bit of a mixed bag. There are definitely some weaker players in the movie, but they definitely aren’t so bad that they harm the overall product (but some extras are definitely amusing). There are also some really good performances. Yancy Butler and Robert Englund are great in the movie and are definitely the best parts of the cast. Finally, some of the cast are very easily forgettable. Elisabeth Röhm and Paul Nicholls (who plays one of the engineers responsible for the fence) are easily the most forgettable members of the cast. Their performances aren’t bad, but they too easily can be overlooked. Röhm can occasionally be commanding but only when she is being the cliché “hard as nails cop” but when her and Nicholls are together, it’s basically watching paint dry because neither really have that attention-grabbing magic.
|Forgettable White People vs Giant Crocodiles: The Movie|
Lake Placid: The Final Chapter definitely stands out from the rest of the other sequels due to the story being fairly well constructed, being a direct sequel, and having special effects that are...eh...okay compared to what they could potentially be. Additionally, the cast definitely has some highlights and standouts. Still, it is a low-budget sequel to a late 90s monster movie that, in all honesty, didn’t deserve a second, third or even fourth film. It has some wonkiness to it and some silliness that makes it easy to riff on and, all put together, it is not a great or wholly entertaining movie because it still gets pretty dumb. That being said, it is still entertaining at times, has some legit decent qualities about it and, to be fair, is a pretty fun dumb movie.