When tuning into a SciFi Channel Original movie, you pretty much know what you’re going to get. And LAKE PLACID 2 – airing Saturday at 9 p.m. ET – delivers: Within five minutes, there are mullet references, severed body parts and more ham-fisted actors than you could shake a fist at.
Stick with it another five minutes and you get women stripping down, family dysfunction and Cloris Leachman playing the prerequisite foul-mouthed old lady (her character is the sister of the similarly dispositioned Betty White from the original big-screen flick).
As with most of the channel’s action-packed pics, there’s no time for silly things like character development, so we’re given cardboard caricatures who are both easily identified and disposed of. There’s no pretense that we’re here for anything but the carnage… and that’s why the movie works on a certain mindless level.
John Schneider (who has aged so much better than anyone has a right to) plays the good-guy sheriff whose son (Chad Collins) goes from whining about, well, the things every teen in every movie whines about to hanging out with a group of assorted hooligans who might just as well be wearing T-shirts emblazoned with the words “Eat Me!” Throw in an egotistical hunter and his manservant and you’ve got all the makings of a battle royale.
The script is better than you might expect, at least in parts. “You know,” says Schneider at one point, “I never quite understood the whole sport of the hunting thing. I prefer sports where my opponent knows they’re playing.” Of course, for every decent line there’s a guy muttering, “I’m comin’ for you, ya scaly little bastard.” There is, however, at least one majorly missed opportunity: Early on, we are told about a particularly grisly habit croc’s have, and one’s mind can’t help but assume that one will be doing exactly that. But for some reason, the twist never comes to pass.
Still, the performances are universally above average, which is a major compliment considering the genre.
For the most part, the movie plays by the rules one might expect. Death comes to those deserving of punishment (with one notable exception). The more repugnant the person, the bloodier their death. And of course, the oldest sequel-related rule on the books: Always leave ’em expecting – if not necessarily wanting – more.