You probably already know if you’re interested in the type of movie that Lake Placid vs Anaconda is. The plot is one that can most likely be summed up in the title alone and you’ve inevitably already encountered one or two of these cheeseball Syfy Channel Originals at some point in the last few years. They’ve been pumping them out left and right and in my humble opinion they’ve really started to hit a sweet spot in terms of making them just self-aware enough to be fun while not going overboard or winking at the camera too hard. Pitting monsters against each other only seemed like the next logical step, and being a huge Godzilla fan, I couldn’t be happier about it.
As you’re most likely figured out, the movie centers around some really big crocodiles and gigantic snakes as they tear a path of destruction through whoever gets in their way before eventually turning on each other. This is a sequel to both Lake Placid: The Final Chapter and Anacondas: Trail of Blood, though you don’t really need to have seen any of the previous entries to follow along.
One of the biggest things that Lake Placid vs Anaconda has going for it is the rather quick pace. We open up on a scene involving the titular creatures in a small science lab near the lake and almost immediately things go disastrous and they escape. Ten minutes in and we’ve already seen a solid amount of carnage and even a good old fashioned slow motion run from an explosion. From here on out, the film never lets up, with plenty of over the top, gory, and hilarious crocodile attacks littering the first hour of the runtime before the anacondas even really start to make an impact. When the snakes finally do appear it’s very satisfying and they really do end up doing some creative things with them when once they start going to blows with the oversized crocodiles. The death scenes in general are all pretty fun and entertaining, and you really don’t have to wait more than ten to fifteen minutes at a time before another one occurs.
As far as the beasts themselves, they’re all done in CGI as you’d expect, but I have to say that this is one of the worst things in the movie. I wasn’t expecting quality on the level of Industrial Light and Magic, but the snakes looked better in the first Anaconda, and that was almost twenty years ago. Hell, other Syfy Channel Originals in the past few years have had better looking creatures than the ones that are present here. It does make me wonder if sharks are so popular because they’re easier to animate. That smooth skin must be a lot faster to accomplish than the detailed scales that cover snakes or especially crocodiles. Either way, the creatures looked bad.
On the plus side, the core cast all do a really great job. We have two returning characters from the previous Lake Placid entry and they’re some of the high points. Yancy Butler returns as Reba, the town’s sheriff and resident ass kicker and Robert Englund makes a surprise comeback as Jim Beckerman. After his apparent death in Lake Placid: The Final Chapter he’s missing a few pieces, but still much better off than you would expect after coming face to jaw with a pretty big crocodile. Aside from them, we have a group of sorority sisters in the midst of a lakeside getaway and one resident Wildlife Protective Services Officer whose journey to find his daughter serves as the heart of the film. These actors are probably better than the movie really needs them to be, but the side characters and extra sorority sisters aren’t quite as good. Still, even some of the hokier moments from minor characters are acceptable in this type of film.
The version of Lake Placid vs Anaconda that I watched is the unrated cut, which is debuting on DVD and Digital HD on August 4th. I didn’t get a chance to check out the movie when it hit the Syfy Channel in April, but it’s pretty easy to see what was cut. The death scenes are gory, but not excessive. There’s maybe one crocodile autopsy that I could see not making its way onto television screens, but for the most part it looks like the nudity is the big difference with this version. There’s a fair amount of naked breasts and at times the movie starts to feel a bit on the sleazy side because of it (in a good way). This movie isn’t really pushing the ratings boundaries at all though. If this were theatrical it would have been Rated R without any trouble.
Look, Lake Placid vs Anaconda isn’t a movie for everyone. I said at the beginning of the review that you probably already know if you’re interested and I stand by that. It’s a low budget Syfy Channel Original with very little plot and terrible special effects, so if I sound overly positive about this movie it’s just because I understand what they’re going for. This was never meant to be the next big horror classic, it’s just a fun cheesy way to kill an hour and a half. For what it’s worth, the acting is above par, it’s fast paced, and a lot of the writing is actually pretty clever. The dialogue was legitimately pretty funny and the death scenes were fun. It’s directed about as well as any other one of these movies. If you’re into this kinda thing then I’d say check it out when it hits DVD and Digital HD on August 4th.
Wicked Rating: [usr 6]
Director(s): A.B. Stone
Writer(s): Berkeley Anderson
Stars: Yancy Butler, Corin Nemec, Robert Englund
Release: August 4th, 2015
Studio/ Production Co: Curmudgeon Films, UFO Films
Length: 86 Minutes
Sub-Genre: Nature Run Amok