Lake Placid (1999)

Rating: B

Dir: Steve Miner
Star: Bill Pullman, Bridget Fonda, Oliver Platt, Meredith Salenger

A straightforward and unpretentious monster movie, with a giant croc lurking somewhat off-habitat in a New England lake: Pullman and Fonda have to keep their heads, while all about them are losing theirs (or a range of other extremities). The dialogue is bitchin’, in both senses, with the characters snapping at each other more than the croc does, and both are equally larger-than-life – the impressive effects switch almost seamlessly from physical to CGI. The major problem is it’s all very obvious, without surprises or twists: the victims are so clearly flagged, they might just as well be wearing red jumpers. However, such qualms are largely irrelevant, unless you’re confused by the title and are expecting a documentary about the 1980 Winter Olympics. If, as is more likely, you’re in the mood for uncomplicated entertainment, this is slickly done and slides down like well-buttered popcorn.