There are three types of crappy sequels in the ever-expanding world of bad cinema: that of the horrendous “direct-to-video” type, and the even more horrifying “made-for-television” kind. The logic behind the former sort of production goes something like: “Movie X” was a moderate success both at the box office and on home video, but hardly enough to warrant a theatrical sequel. However, the studio can still make a decent profit if they produce a direct-to-video sequel and shoot it in Bulgaria. The basis for a made-for-television flick, on the other hand, usually runs along the lines of: “Dear God, we need to produce something for our SyFy Original Movie next week — so don’t just stand there, go produce…something…in Bulgaria!”
The only constant here really is Bulgaria. And, if I actually knew where Bulgaria was or what sort of contributions it has made to the world, I would make some sort of joke at its expense. Alas, an extensive two-minute investigation via The Google only told me: “File Not Found. Error 404.”
As a rule of thumb, either form of follow-up films (direct-to-video vs. made-for-television) will usually cause tremendous amounts of psychological (and sometimes even physical) pain amongst viewers over the age of nine and/or possessing IQs over 63. Once in a while, though, a notable exception comes along to break the widely-recognized belief that “crappy sequels shot in Bulgaria suck.” As hard as it is to fathom, Lake Placid 3 is an exception; not in the sense that it’s good (it isn’t), but rather, that it is actually a sequel that is both direct-to-video and made-for-television.
Initially shown in the States as a SyFy Channel Movie of the Weak in August of 2010, Lake Placid 3 caused several hundred-thousand people in America to shake their heads in pity and disgust over the god-awful special effects, bad acting, and half-witted dialogue in contained. Now, however, we get to see the movie (again?) in an Unrated form as it makes a home video debut. The difference between the two? This direct-to-video release of a crappy made-for-television sequel includes several wonderful moments of nudity that were edited out of the TV version. And it makes all the difference in the world for a red-blooded straight lad like myself.
The bad news? Well, Lake Placid 3 still sucks — even with the nudity thrown in. Oh, well, can’t win for losing, right?
Our story here focuses on the Bickerman Family: zoologist Nathan (Colin Ferguson), his wife Susan (Kristy Mitchell), and their neglected red-headed child Charlie (Brian Landon). They’ve come to Black Lake to settle the estate of the late Sadie Bickerman (played by Betty White in the original Lake Placid and by Cloris Leachman in Lake Placid 2), who had a nasty habit of feeding cows to giant crocodiles and uttering jaw-dropping expletives. As it turns out, the gene that fueled Sadie’s desire to make pets from giant reptiles is alive and well within young Charlie, who starts to steal meat from the local Bulgarian market set (located in the heart of the Bulgaria town set, conveniently enough) to feed a pack of big hungry critters.
The crocs (all of which are represented by some of the shoddiest CGI you have ever seen) start growing in size, and yearn for something bigger to munch on. Fortunately for them, there’s a seemingly endless supply of stupid horny bipeds to be found on or around the lake, including several college kids in their mid-thirties such as Ellie (Kacey Barnfield and her lovely, bodacious assets) and a couple of other Brits with some truly-awful American accents. Naturally, the entire community of Black Lake is about to become the personal all-you-can-eat buffet for these killer, computer-generated eating machines (honestly, these are really terrible FX, folks).
It’s all pretty routine, people: the crocs attack, the humans try to fight back, numerous other films (such as Jaws, et al) are ripped-off, and any sense of logic one might have previously held before watching this movies are tossed into the trash. Now throw in two over-actors extraordinaire — Yancy Butler (doing her best impersonation of one of Catherine O’Hara’s SCTV characters to date) as a burly poacher guide and B-Movie legend Michael Ironside as an irate sheriff — and you’ve got one great big dumb laughable mess on your hands.
But hey, at least it‘s better than Lake Placid 2. Plus, there’s nudity. Rejoice, my brethren!
Lake Placid 3 is presented on DVD from Sony Pictures Home Entertainment in an anamorphic widescreen ratio of 1.78:1, and the disc sports a more-than-adequate video transfer (which makes the awful special effects that much more awful-looking). Accompanying the picture are five Dolby Digital 5.1 audio options: English, French, Spanish, Portuguese, and Thai. Optional subtitles are available in English (SDH), French, Spanish, Portuguese, Chinese, Korean, and Thai — thus ensuring people of many different cultures will suffer through this classic.
Anyone that might be looking for some special features here will no doubt have to wait for that epic day when all three Lake Placid features are issued in a High Def Special Collector’s Edition Box Set (with collectible booklet and Lego figures). Until then, though, you’ll have to settle for the handful of trailers for other Sony releases that comes with this DVD. Of course, when you consider the feature film in question here, I’d say a handful of trailers is more than sufficient.