Already a successful writer and producer for the small screen, with television series such as Ally McBeal, Picket Fences, and LA Law, David E. Kelley tried returning to the big screen in 1999 with two screenplays, Mystery, Alaska and now available on Blu-ray from Scream! Factory, Lake Placid, an entertaining mix of horror and comedy about a 30 foot crocodile on the loose in Maine and the team assigned to take him out.
Distributed By: Scream Factory
Video Resolution and Encode: 1080P/AVC
Aspect Ratio: 2.35:1
Audio: English 2.0 DTS-HDMA, English 5.1 DTS-HDMA
Subtitles: English SDH
Run Time: 1 Hr. 22 Min.
Package Includes: Blu-rayBlu-ray keepcase with outer sleeve
Disc Type: BD50 (dual layer)
Release Date: 07/08/2014
After a Fish and Game officer is chomped in two during a routine beaver tagging at Black Lake in Lincoln County, Maine, paleontologist Kelly Scott (Bridget Fonda), Fish and Game Officer Jack Wells (Bill Pullman), local Sheriff Hank Keough (Brendan Gleeson), and wealthy crocodile enthusiast Hector Cyr (Oliver Platt) are teamed up to investigate. They are an odd lot, for sure. Kelly Scott is mending a broken heart and hates the outdoors (“When you said camping, I thought you meant Ramada Inn”). Sheriff Keough is a cantankerous dim wit carrying a big gun. Hector Cyr is not only eccentric, but obsessed with crocs. Jack Wells is the only sane person in the group, wanting nothing more than getting the job done and going home. Shortly after the team assembles, the film kicks into comedy mode, with Fonda and Pullman playing up the romantic comedy angle, and Platt doing just about anything to get under Gleeson’s skin. It is that latter relationship that drives most of the comedy in Lake Placid, thanks in part to witty dialogue by screenwriter David E. Kelley and the chemistry between the two actors. Betty White almost steals the show as a lovable old lady with a dirty mouth (and secret).
The Production Rating: 3.5/5
Director Steve Miner is no stranger to both horror and comedy, having directed Friday the 13th Part II, House, and Soul Man, and with Lake Placid, he does his best to balance the two genres with mixed results. The horror elements are limited to three set pieces, notably the opening (which is the goriest part of the film), a sequence where Kelly falls overboard, and the big showdown with the big croc. The rest is mostly played for laughs, but never falls into parody, and that may just be the saving grace of Lake Placid.
Lake Placid is presented in a pleasing 1080p AVC-encoded transfer that retains the film’s original theatrical aspect ratio of 2.35:1. Colors are consistent and lifelike, detail is quite good (although there are a few shots that look a bit soft), and contrast for the most part is fairly solid, providing deep blacks in the nighttime sequences, but some daytime scenes appear almost blown out. Digital tinkering is minimal, retaining much of the original grain and providing a nice filmic look.
Video Rating: 4/5 3D Rating: NA
As with most Scream! Factory releases, the soundtrack comes with both 5.1 and 2.0 stereo DTS-HD Master Audio tracks. Originally released to theatres in both Dolby Digital 5.1 and matrixed Dolby Stereo, both DTS-HD tracks provide improvements in fidelity and dynamic range over their theatrical counterparts. Dialogue is crisp and clear, with music and effects spread across the fronts, with some occasional discrete surround effects thrown in. The 5.1 is not a very aggressive mix, but does have a stronger low-end than the 2.0 stereo track.
Audio Rating: 4/5
Making of Lake Placid (1080p; 31:20): Featuring new interviews with Bill Pullman, Steve Miner, director of photography Daryn Okada, editor Marshall Harvey, production designer John Willett, effects supervisor Marshall Harvey, and puppeteer Toby Lindala. My only complaint is that clips from the film are cropped to full screen 1.78:1.
Special Features Rating: 4/5
Theatrical Trailer (1080p; 1:58): The trailer is cropped to 1.78:1, and appears overly soft, as if it was upscaled to 1080p.
Vintage Featurette (1080p; 5:38): This is an odd piece, essentially the original EPK from 1999 upscaled to 1080p, but with some clips from the film re-inserted in their original 2.35:1 aspect ratio.
TV Spots (1080p; 1:34): Three television spots, obviously upscaled to 1080p.
Croc Test Footage (1080i; 7:21): Home movies of the crocodile head swimming in the lake.
Behind the Scenes Gallery (1080p; 5:31): A still gallery of production photos.
Reversible Insert Cover: Choose between the new Scream! Factory artwork or artwork based on the film’s original teaser poster.
Lake Placid is definitely not a film for everyone, with some finding the story to be just too hokey. But if you’re willing to go along for the ride, it can be a fun experience. And, as usual, Scream! Factory gives the fans a nice package with a definite upgrade in picture and sound, plus a new documentary.
Overall Rating: 4/5
Reviewed By: Todd Erwin
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