Lake Placid – Collector’s Edition (Blu-ray)

Lake-PlacidI’ll be the first to admit, when Scream Factory announced they were doing Lake Placid, I was kinda like “Hmm”.  For one, it was a newer film (weird to call a 15 year old film that), but as we’ve seen they are starting to explore late 90s and early 2000s films.  I remember watching it back when it came out on video and not really caring for it.  I haven’t seen it since.  It’s spawned some straight to SyFy Channel sequels over the years though.  What’s great is that I get to revisit this film with fresh eyes and an older, wiser mind.  I don’t think I fully grasped or appreciated films like this back when I was 17, so I feel I obviously went in realizing it was probably on me last time and I may have not been on the same wavelength as this film on my initial outing.

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In Lincoln County, Maine, a marine Fish and Game officer is bitten in half while scuba diving in the lake.  This brings together an investigation involving a Fish and Game officer, the sheriff, a paleontologist from the American Museum of Natural History and a crocodile enthusiast.  They discover a giant crocodile haunting the lake and being fed an nurtured by an old woman living on the lake.

Well, this is not the film I remember it being.  Lake Placid is a really fun Saturday afternoon matinee B-picture.  Its got some fun snappy dialogue that actually elevates it above most of its ilk.  The cast really clicks and full understands the material as well as director Steve Miner.  Its a fun little romp with a giant crocodile if you’re willing to kick back and let the film run its course.

The cast of the film really gels with each other.  Highlighting it is the interplay between Brendan Gleeson and Oliver Platt.  The two have an absolute blast butting heads together and snarking back and forth with each other.  If anything, the film is worth watching for just this.  Bill Pullman, an actor I’m kinda iffy on in general, really works in this film.  He totally gets and excels running this material.

Whatever happened to Bridget Fonda?  She was one of the most fun actresses I enjoyed back in the 90s.  According to her IMDB, she hasn’t appeared in a film since 2002.  Shame, I really enjoyed her.  Not only was she super attractive (Wow, was she gorgeous in Jackie Brown), but she also had a knack for picking some really interesting projects and roles.  She appeared in a brief, pretty much non-speaking, role in Army Of Darkness of all things and later appeared in Sam Raimi’s A Simple Plan.  She’s really good here in Lake Placid.  Makes me think she’d be fit perfectly in a Joss Whedon production.  Maybe she’ll make a comeback in the near future, but who knows.

You can really see this movie inspiring almost every SyFy Channel original production that would spring up in the next decade and still ongoing.  When watching this movie, it actual itself feels like one of those movie, albeit with slightly better production values (the croc still looks pretty awesome).  This film and the previous year’s Anaconda definitely were the inspiration.  However, I think this film was in on the joke where Anaconda wasn’t.  It also has a more loose feeling to it as well.  But, really you can see the genesis of all these films right here in Lake Placid.

Well, done Scream Factory, you turned me around on Lake Placid.  This is a PERFECT summer release.  It really has a lot of fun that I wasn’t akin to back in 1999.  Now, its a film I will definitely revisit here and there and am actively looking for something that would make a perfect double feature.  The film is definitely the Piranha for the 90s/early 2000s.  A real kind of tribute to types of films Joe Dante was famous for.  The film is funny, gruesome, campy and I’ll admit…had a few well done jump scares.  Plenty of fun for a lazy Saturday afternoon.

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Encoding: MPEG-4 AVC

Resolution: 1080p

Aspect Ratio: 2:35.1

Clarity/Detail: Unlike the previous 1999 film Scream Factory released this summer (Ravenous), Lake Placid fares far better.  This is a highly detailed, sharp and very crisp image.  It helps that most of the film is brightly lit.  Clothing texture, as well as dirt and the plantation is finely detailed.  This is one of the better looking lower tiered 90s film transfers I’ve had the pleasure of seeing.

Depth: Some solid work especially croc to person.  There’s some good scope shots of the lake.

Black Levels: Good levels that add to the definition of the film.  Rich without losing much detail.

Color Reproduction: Colors are hot, but bold and lifelike.  Nobody really sports any sort of big colorful outfits.  The film is loaded with browns and darker greens.

Flesh Tones: Consistent and warm.  Solid amounts of detail.  At some few instances a little too smooth.

Noise/Artifacts: Nothing spotted. Really clean image.

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Audio Format(s): English 5.1 DTS-HD MA, English 2.0 DTS-HD MA

Subtitles: English

Dynamics: This is a pretty solid 5.1 track.  I think the 2.0 is a good display as well (and may be preferred).  What I like that the 5.1 adds is the subwoofer, but as far as surround its merely “okay”.  There’s a great variance in volume levels for effects and dialogue to create a full experience in the front channels.  Sound effects sound distinct and there’s a good measure and balance between the effects, dialogue and score.

Low Frequency Extension: Enhances helicopter blades, gunshots and big time crocodile splashes.  Also engines rumble pretty good too.  This is a nicely active sub woofer track.

Surround Sound Presentation: This is a rather tame surround track.  Most of it is present in the front speakers.  Some bug noises, ambiance, limb rattling and score happens in the back, but it doesn’t add a whole lot that the 2.0 track doesn’t excel at.

Dialogue Reproduction: Crisp, clean, clear and center focused.

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The cover for the case is reversible so you can choose between the new box art or the original theatrical poster.  The disc art also comes from another theatrical poster.  For those wondering where a commentary is, Steven Miner doesn’t like to do commentaries so it came as no surprise when I saw one wasn’t present.

Making Of Lake Placid (HD, 31:20) – A retrospective looking featuring the likes of Bill Pullman, Steve Miner and others discussing their interest in joining the project, filming it and its legacy.  I found it humorous that everyone thought it was a joke that David E. Kelley wrote the movie and thought someone was trying to pull one on them or coax them into the project.

Theatrical Trailer (HD, 1:58)

Featurette (HD, 5:38) – A vintage EPK for the film featuring interviews with cast (including Bridget Fonda) and director Steve Miner.

TV Spots (HD, 1:34) – 3 television ads.

Croc Test Footage (HD, 7:21) – VHS footage testing the animatronic crocodile in the water.  For what it is, it feels kind of long.  Includes no accompanying audio.

Behind The Scenes Gallery – 40 on-set behind the scenes images.

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Scream Factory has flipped me on Lake Placid.  I had a lot of fun revisiting it, knowing the kind of goofy monster/comedy movie it was  always intended to be.  I really would put money down to see a spinoff sequel with Brendan Gleeson and Oliver Platt’s characters teaming up to go after another crocodile or whatever.  They were too much fun.  Also, always good to go back to 90s crushes like Bridget Fonda.  This edition has a superb video transfer and great audio track.  Tack on another wonderful retrospective featurette with some solid bonus additions and you have yourself a solid collector’s edition from the best in the business at making collector’s editions.  Pick it up if you’re collecting.  Pick it up if you’re just looking for a fun film to kick back and laugh with.



Brandon is the host, producer, writer and editor of The Brandon Peters Show (thebrandonpetersshow.com) on the Creative Zombie Studios Network. At Why So Blu he is a Writer/Reviewer. Brandon is a lifelong obsessive film nerd. As eager to educate in the world of film as I am to learn. An avid lover of horror, schlock and trash. You can also find older essays on his blog Naptown Nerd (naptownnerd.blogspot.com).

3 Responses to “Lake Placid – Collector’s Edition (Blu-ray)”

  1. Aaron Neuwirth

    Bridget Fonda stepped back from acting to raise her kids with Danny Elfman.

  2. Brandon Peters

    So, she’s kinda the Phoebe Cates of the 90s then?

  3. Aaron Neuwirth

    Pretty much