Blissfully unaware until now that this is the sixth film in the Lake Placid franchise, this reviewer has no knowledge of the four films that sit between it and the somewhat more enjoyable first in the series. Given the law of diminishing returns, Lake Placid: Legacy may be scraping the bottom of a very knackered barrel, but there are still some minor pleasures to be had along the way.
A group of eco-warriors keen on exposing corporate corruption and environmental abuse break into a secluded area not shown on maps or found on GPS systems. As they travel to the small island where they expect to meet a former member, something large with very big teeth stalks them and, as they meet various gruesome ends at the jaws of the big mutated croc, it becomes clear that unlawful scientific experiments are the cause. Will anyone get out alive to warm the rest of the world?
Well, you certainly won’t be holding your breath for anywhere near as long as some of the characters have to as they swim away from the monstrous beast to wait for the answer to that one. For Lake Placid: Legacy is indeed a huge croc - cliched, unoriginal, lacking in any real tension or fear and, apart from one line of dialogue, seemingly unconnected to the film that spawned it.
Lake Placid was a lovely film, a knowing nod to the monster genre, happy to take the mickey whilst delivering some fun scares. As such, for all its hokeyness, it is fondly remembered by many. The characters were quirky, the acting great, the monster a hoot. But Legacy takes itself far too seriously. There’s nothing in the way of fun and, whilst the cast are committed and try hard to invest their roles with some credence, the writing provides only stereotypes for them (and the croc), to get their teeth into. At least the most annoying of these gets eaten early on. Some gravitas is provided by Joe Pantoliano, slumming it in TV movie hell a far cry from The Matrix, but he’s wasted in a role which doesn’t last long enough.
In fairness, there are some well mounted scenes and the odd delightfully gory moment, but the whole thing is let down by a, for the most part, massively unconvincing CGI creature. Besides, are we alone in thinking that crocodiles aren’t scary because they look like they are constantly smirking? Perhaps it read the script and knew what was coming.
Extras: none, mercifully.
LAKE PLACID: LEGACY / CERT: 15 / DIRECTOR: DARRELL ROODT / SCREENPLAY: JONATHAN LLOYD WALTER / STARRING: KATHERINE BARRELL, TIM ROZON, SAI BENNETT / RELEASE DATE: OUT NOW