Lake Placid (film)

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Lake Placid
Lake placid ver2.jpg
Theatrical release poster
Directed bySteve Miner
Produced by
Written byDavid E. Kelley
Music byJohn Ottman
CinematographyDaryn Okada
Edited by
Distributed by20th Century Fox
Release date
  • July 16, 1999 (1999-07-16)
Running time
82 minutes[1]
CountryUnited States[1]
Budget$27–35 million[2][3]
Box office$56.9 million[3]

Lake Placid is a 1999 American monster horror action film written by David E. Kelley and directed by Steve Miner. It is the first installment in the Lake Placid franchise. It stars Bill Pullman, Bridget Fonda, Oliver Platt, Brendan Gleeson, Betty White, Meredith Salenger and Mariska Hargitay. The plot revolves around a giant, 30-foot-long monstrous saltwater crocodile which terrorizes the fictional location of Black Lake, Maine, United States, and also follows a dysfunctional group who attempt to capture or kill the beast.

The film was produced by Fox 2000 Pictures and Stan Winston Studios (which did the special effects for the creatures) and principal photography was shot in British Columbia, Canada. The film was distributed by 20th Century Fox and released in cinemas in the United States on July 16, 1999,[2] and in the United Kingdom on March 31, 2000.[4] It grossed $56.9 million worldwide and was followed by five made-for-television sequels, starting with Lake Placid 2 in 2007.


In Aroostook County, Maine, Marine fish and Game officer Walt Lawson is scuba diving in a lake when he is suddenly attacked and bitten in half by an unknown creature in Black Lake.

Weeks later, Sheriff Hank Keough, Fish and Game officer Jack Wells and American Museum of Natural History paleontologist Kelly Scott go to the lake to investigate the incident with mythology professor/enthusiast Hector Cyr joining them. A series of strange events soon ensue, including Kelly and Hank's canoe mysteriously flying in the air and flipping over, the discovery of a severed toe as well as a severed moose head before finally the decapitation of Burke, one of Hank's deputies.

Later, as Hank and Hector argue, a large grizzly bear attacks them, but a gigantic saltwater crocodile suddenly leaps out of the water, snatches the animal in its jaws, and drags it into the lake. After finding Burke's severed head, Jack, Kelly, and Hank witness Delores Bickerman, an elderly hermit living near the lake, feeding a blindfolded cow to the giant crocodile. She reveals that she has been feeding the reptile for years after the beast followed her husband home and eventually killed him. Afterwards, she was placed under house arrest for initially lying to the police.

Hector decides to take Deputy Sharon Gare on a trip in his helicopter and unexpectedly lands it in the crocodile's territory where the monster lives. While he is scuba diving, he is confronted and attacked by the creature, but he and Gare escape after distracting it with an inflatable raft. Later, Jack and Hank plan to allow Maine Fish and Game to kill the beast when they arrive, but Hector suggests instead that he lures it out of the water and drug it into unconsciousness. Jack reluctantly accepts the proposal and they use one of Bickerman's cattle, dangled from the helicopter, as bait.

After a few hours, the beast soon appears and rears up as it lunges at its prey. Hector pulls up and loses the animal, but crashes the helicopter into the lake. The crocodile comes on land and begins to attack Jack, Kelly and the group. Kelly is knocked into the lake by the beast's huge tail, but she makes it into the helicopter in time. The beast catches up to Kelly and attacks again, but gets itself trapped in the helicopter. Jack grabs a gun and shoots it, but the firearm turns out to be a tranquilizer rifle. As Hector comes out of the water, another crocodile attacks and bites him, but Hank blows it up with his grenade launcher. Soon after, Maine Fish and Game officers arrive, where they load the unconscious crocodile onto a truck and take it to Portland, Maine to figure out what to do with it.

One week later, Bickerman is shown feeding bread crumbs to many baby crocodiles, revealing the two adults were actually a mating pair. The surviving adult beast is later seen tied to the back of a flat-bed truck, speeding down a road to an unknown location.



The film was produced by Fox 2000 Pictures, Phoenix Pictures, and Rocking Chair Productions.[5] The 32-foot (9.8 m) long crocodile was created by Stan Winston Studios.

Almost the entire film was shot on location in remote locations in Lincoln, Maine, which stood in for the fictional locations of the film in the American state of Maine. Some scenes were shot in Vancouver and Surrey, British Columbia. Three different lakes in British Columbia stood in for the fictional "Black Lake": Shawnigan Lake, Buntzen Lake and Hayward Lake.[6]


Lake Placid
Film score by
ReleasedJuly 27, 1999
Film scores
LabelVarèse Sarabande

The soundtrack for the film was composed and conducted by John Ottman and released by Varèse Sarabande.[7][8]

Track listing
  1. Main Title (2:25)
  2. Hector's Here (1:11)
  3. Close Call (3:59)
  4. Udder Preparations (4:02)
  5. Love Games (2:25)
  6. Reluctant Passengers (1:46)
  7. Morgue / Scary Beaver (4:11)
  8. Scouting (2:22)
  9. Here He Comes! (4:57)
  10. Making a Move /Jack (2:11)
  11. Swimming With Croc (3:36)
  12. Hector's Mind (2:48)
  13. Weird Things / Dinner Time (2:51)
  14. Ground Rules (1:43)
  15. Trapping Croc / Resolution (5:30)
  16. The Lake / Hitching a Ride (1:03)


On review aggregator website Rotten Tomatoes, the film holds an approval rating of 47% based on 94 reviews (44 fresh and 50 rotten), and an average rating of 5.06/10. The site's critical consensus reads that the film was a "faux horror schtick" that "fails to elicit any laughs or scares."[9] On Metacritic, the film has a weighted average score of 34 out of 100, based on 25 critics, indicating "generally unfavorable reviews".[10] Audiences polled by CinemaScore gave the film an average grade of "C" on an A+ to F scale.[11]

Roger Ebert described it as "completely wrong-headed from beginning to end".[12] Empire gave the film four out of five stars, saying "You can enjoy Placid as a straightforward camping-holiday nightmare, or as a sly, ironic take on the same. It works deliciously as both."[13]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c d "Lake Placid (1999)". AFI Catalog of Feature Films. Retrieved 2018-01-19.
  2. ^ a b "Lake Placid (1999)". The Numbers. Retrieved 2015-09-06.
  3. ^ a b "Lake Placid (1999)". Box Office Mojo. Retrieved 2015-09-06.
  4. ^ "Lake Placid". Radio Times. Retrieved 2015-09-06.
  5. ^ "Lake Placid (1999) – Production Credits". New York Times. Retrieved 2015-09-06.
  6. ^ Willistein, Paul (July 16, 1999). "Bridget Fonda Identifies with Hard-to-like 'Lake Placid' Film Character". The Morning Call. Retrieved 2015-09-06.
  7. ^ "Lake Placid - John Ottman". AllMusic. Retrieved April 20, 2018.
  8. ^ "Lake Placid - John Ottman". Discogs. Retrieved April 20, 2018.
  9. ^ "Lake Placid (1999)". Rotten Tomatoes. Retrieved 2015-09-06.
  10. ^ "Lake Placid Reviews". Metacritic. CBS Interactive. Retrieved May 25, 2018.
  11. ^ "Lake Placid". CinemaScore.
  12. ^ Ebert, Roger (July 16, 1999). "Lake Placid". Chicago Sun-Times. Retrieved 2015-09-06 – via
  13. ^ "Lake Placid". Empire. Retrieved 2015-09-06.

External links[edit]