Lake Placid ★★★★

When I think back over a lot of the really fun films that I could stick on at any time and just have a great time, monster movies are usually towards the top of the list.

There are so very many of them that really do transcend being a good laugh into just being really good films, going right back, arguably, to Them! in the 1950s. But during the 70s, 80s and 90s, Hollywood semi-regularly pumped out a whole load of very good examples of these, several of which went under the radar. The Relic and Deep Rising would be two such examples, and Lake Placid is another.

There are two things that elevate this film, about the attempts to capture a super-size crocodile lurking around the titular lake in Maine. Firstly, the cast. Bridget Fonda, Bill Pullman, Brendan Gleeson, Oliver Platt, Betty White - they are a cut above the usual casts you will find in films of this type. They all are clearly having a ball here, but never go over the top with their performances which stops it from being too camp.

The second is the dialogue. It might sound like a strange thing to pinpoint about a monster movie - normally you would be looking for deaths or scares. While there are one or two of those here, the witty and hilarious lines and exchanges are what are really the most fun about this film. The exchanges, in particular, between Gleeson and Platt are absolutely brilliant, but everyone here gets some super lines.

It's just tremendously enjoyable from start to finish and I am still baffled to this day why this received such a batch of negative reviews when it was first released - reviews that do not seem to have changed much in recent years. For me, though, this has almost as much going for it as the fabulous Tremors and, in some ways, perhaps even more.

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