DVD Review: Lake Placid 3

DVD Review: Lake Placid 3
Directed by: G.E. Furst
Starring: Colin Ferguson, Yancy Butler, Michael Ironside, Kirsty Mitchell, Kacey Barnfield, Mark Evans
DVD Release Date: October 26, 2010
Review by: Dustin Hall

I tried. I really, really did. I wanted so bad to give Lake Placid 3 a pass.

Its not because I harbor any affection toward the rest of the Lake Placid series, oh no. But this is a movie with a lot of hope behind it. It’s the first film directed by G.E. Furst, it’s the first screenplay of SyFy Channel (who produced the film) stock-writer David Reed, and it’s the return of film vets Michael Ironside (Scanners) and Yancy Butler (Witchblade) to the screen in some fun, meaty roles.

And, on a personal note, this is the first time Sony Pictures has sent me a movie to watch, and I really hoped to start a positive relationship with them. Now, I’m still willing to say that I love Sony and many of their fine movie products. But, man, this was a rough start.

I try my hardest to judge every movie, not by what it is, but by how well it accomplished what it tried to be, and how well the crew met that goal with their resources. You can’t, after all, try to compare Evil Dead to Citizen Kane. Unfortunately, you can compare Lake Placid 3 to something like ‘Wedding Videos of People I Don’t Know’, and the entertainment values come out about the same. And ultimately, the wedding video is probably scarier and more grueling.

I just felt lied to. The description on the back of the box promises adrenaline-pumping fun and a high body count. The press-release promised me gruesome gore and scads of bare breasts. Scads. This is, after all, the Unrated cut. Lake Placid 3 starts out with promise, sure. Within 2 minutes, I’ve got a girl running around naked, and some sex on the lakeside. Beautiful. After that, I’ve got two pairs of boobs for maybe 30 seconds of the entire running-time? Hardly the steamy action I was promised.

I can forgo boob-age if perhaps the film delivers some fun death scenes? Maybe some cool looking, innovative gore FX, or some fun creature work?  My hopes for any of those were pretty well dashed by the shoddy CG, used for every aspect of the alligators, the deaths they caused, or the blood they shed on the ground. Little effort was made to even correlate the location of the CG ‘gators with the objects they were dragging around. Michael Ironside’s car just kind of floats down into the water, in the vicinity of a gator’s mouth, but it’s pretty obvious that the two aren’t connected in any way. These guys just didn’t give a shit.

I don’t want to give the notion that I only judge a horror flick by its contents of nudity and bloodshed. Not true. But I don’t hope for great writing or suspense in a movie about a boy who feeds alligators in his backyard beef jerky, for two years, without either of his parents ever noticing these gators live 20 feet from the house, until they grow to massive proportions. I’d be a fool. Any suspicions of quality writing are tossed right out the window as soon as Mom yells “Stay away from the window! They can smell you through the glass!” But in place of quality or chills better be some of the tenants of what makes a horror movie fun. Nudity, some funny jokes, and a lot of shocking, often funny deaths.

Lake Placid 3 promised me all of these things, but only gave just enough of any to earn a cursory mention on the DVD box. This should have been the Friday the 13th of ‘gator movies.  Alas, in its attempt to be a ‘fun horror’ movie, it’s failed completely

The High: Michael Ironside and Yancy Butler get big roles, with a lot of guns, chewing up the scenery and cracking wise while battling against their poorly CG’d foes. The Low: Pretty much everything else about this film.

I’m not surprised about any of this. SyFy can’t cobble together a good original film to save their souls these days. And yet, I come away disappointed regardless. SyFy needs to realize something. The story of the film is what really draws us to it. We like suspense and drama and ideas. Lacking that, we need visceral, naked, funny things to keep us occupied. But people are only going to keep buying your stuff, SyFy, if you start trying harder. When there’s no thought or effort put into the movie, like Lake Placid 3, it’s obvious. The audience demands more. And honestly, it wouldn’t have taken much time to deliver that.


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