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Film / Lake Placid

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"I'm rooting for the crocodile. I hope he swallows your friends whole."
Delores Bickerman

Lake Placid is a movie made in 1999 combining comedy and horror and starring Bill Pullman, Bridget Fonda, Brendan Gleeson, and Oliver Platt with a plot revolving around a giant crocodile owned by a seemingly ordinary old woman, Mrs. Delores Bickerman played by Betty White.

It spawned five Made for TV sequels, the fourth of which serves as a crossover with Anaconda. A fifth was released in 2018, but is In Name Only, ignoring all previous films apart from a quick mention of the original.

Contains the following tropes:

  • Adorably Precocious Child: Connor, in the third movie.
  • Academic Athlete: In the fourth film swim team member Drew seems to have an idea what Chloe is talking about as she brings up a book she read for class.
  • Agony of the Feet: In the second movie, Rachel has plenty of opportunities to complain due to wearing flip-flops on a hiking trip, and when a crocodile attacks her, it bites her feet first.
  • Always a Bigger Fish: The team gets surprised by a grizzly bear (in Maine), who charges through their camp, turns, stands, roars, prepares to attack... and is promptly grabbed by the crocodile.
  • Ambiguously Bi: Elaine from the fourth movie is willing to talk about boys with Chloe and shows some signs of thinking that Drew is cute, but after insulting Brittany, adds "She does have a great ass though" and later rubs Brittany's shoulders while comforting her after an attack, and grabs her hand as they're running from a crocodile.
  • Amusingly Awful Aim: Lake Placid 2 has Jack Struthers who loves to remind his employee Ahmad about the time he saved him from a lion when he was a teenager. When Ahmad finally gets tired of Struthers's insensitive treatment and taking credit for Ahmad's work, he tells the part of the story that Struthers doesn't like to be reminded of: that it took Struthers four shots at point-blank range for him to hit the lion, two of which ended up hitting Ahmad instead.
  • Asshole Victim: Lake Placid 2 goes out of its way to identify every single victim, with the arguable exceptions of Frank and Ahmad as a jerk in some way, in some cases literally moments before they die.
  • Auto Erotica: Brittany and Drew sneak back onto the school bus to have sex in the fourth movie, and later while they're jet-skiing, she gets between him and the controls so they can make out.
  • Aw, Look! They Really Do Love Each Other: Occurs between Jack and Kelly.
    • In the third movie, Ellie went on the trip to get away from Brett, and his following her out there might be a bit stalker-esque, but they do have a nice moment when they briefly reunite during the chaos.
  • Bears Are Bad News: As noted above, the attempt to pull this off goes south for the bear in question.
  • Big Bad: The giant crocodiles terrorizing the lake.
  • Brains and Brawn: Jack and Kelly team up with their respective genders filling the appropriate roles.
  • Brick Joke: The cow. It actually lives.
  • Brilliant, but Lazy: Kelly initially insults and rants at most anybody and anything around her and refuses to really help out despite having notable intelligence. That changes midway through when a charging bear gets eaten and she actually sees the giant crocodile.
  • Brother–Sister Incest: Used as an insult. Hank nearly falls victim to one of Hector's croc traps. When Hank berates him, Hector insists that it will end up saving his life, telling him "The longer you live, the more sex you get to have with your sisters!". Because they dislike each other so much, Hector is presumably insinuating that Hank is an inbred, hick-town sheriff.
  • Butt-Monkey: Larry in the second film just can't catch a break (at one point falling asleep on an alligators back) and its mostly used for black humor.
  • Caught in a Snare: Hank. Hector is reluctant to let him down, seeing Hank's Death Glare.
    Hector: I would let him down, but he has this odd look of mayhem on his upside-down face.
    • Brittany is also caught in one during a chase in the fourth movie.
  • Clueless Deputy: Every now and then. Dale from the second film stands out, being tougher than usual, but not appearing to know about Freedom of Speech (or maybe he just doesn't care) and condescendingly boasting about having tied a secure knot around the crocodiles mouth right before it breaks loose and eats him.
  • Conflicting Loyalty: Kelly struggles to try and mesh her feelings for Jack with merely trapping, not killing, the crocodile.
  • Crossover: The fifth film has the series crossover with Anaconda
  • Curse of The Ancients: Mrs. Delores Bickerman, played by Betty White, jumps on this and averts it.
  • Deadpan Snarker:
    • Everyone. Sheriff Hank lampshades this.
      Hank: Everybody's a comedian, sarcastic...
    • Ironically, Hank himself gets a special mention.
      Hank: (after Kelly freaks out about staying in a tent) Oh my God — we forgot to pack feminine napkins!
  • Darker and Edgier: Compared to it's predecessors. Lake Placid Legacy seems to have a more serious and slightly dark tone with barely any comedy or campiness in it. And it feels much more intense overall with its setting and atmosphere.
  • Death by Mocking: That's what they get for thinking Mrs. Delores Bickerman was crazy.
  • Deep South: Although set in Maine, Kelly immediately says that being in the woods anywhere is akin to being in the movie Deliverance.
  • Didn't Think This Through: Hector's expression screams this after he dives close to the crocodile to see it closer and then finds it staring at him, while glimpsing how big it is.
  • Don't Call Me "Sir": Do NOT call Kelly "Ma'am."
    Kelly: If you call me "ma'am" one more time, I will sue you. And with today's laws, it's possible.
  • Doomed Predecessor: The most recent film has some environmental activists going to investigate alleged pollution at an area couple of friends contacted them about. They find the dead body of one of those friends, and an Apocalyptic Log of the other one before the start being attacked.
  • Dropped a Bridge on Him: On occasion. In the second movie after being a nice member of the main party, and having witnessed and survived an earlier alligator attack, Frank is just knocked into a tree by a random tail swipe of a crocodile and apparently breaks his neck and in the fourth movie Brittany is decapitated after being Caught in a Snare when the alligator bites up at her, with little fanfare after being a prominent presence throughout the movie and getting some Character Development. A more awesome, non-human example comes in the first film, with Hank blowing away the second crocodile with the grenade launcher within seconds of it showing itself and attacking.
  • Due to the Dead: In 3, Brett places his jacket over Charlie's remains. However, he also doesn't hesitate to Speak Ill of the Dead, admitting that he hated Charlie and considered him to be a pervert and an idiot (which is a fair description).
  • Dumb Blonde: In 3, Tara is blonde and mixes up elk and deer, thinks that an elk's head is the best part of it to eat, and thinks a zookeeper is the same thing as a zoologist.
  • Eating the Eye Candy: Elaine comments on how Brittany's butt looks in a bikini in the fourth movie.
  • Egomaniac Hunter:
    • One of these serves as a particularly flat Strawman antagonist in the second movie.
    • Third one has one too in the form of Reba, but she's a more complex character and can actually back up her ego.
  • The End... Or Is It?: The heroes manage to sedate and capture the huge crocodile hanging out in an American lake, but the end shows that she had babies. This is foreshadowed earlier on when a smaller male suddenly jumps up out of nowhere before getting shot. Most of the sequels also have similar incidents indicating that there are still alligators out there.
  • Evil Old Folks:
    • Mrs. Delores from first movie, she is a cantankerous and argumentative old hag who always looking to insult anyone and has been feeding live cows to the crocodiles and hiding their existence despite knowing they have been eating people
    • Sadie, who has been covering up some of the crocodiles actions in the second movie, and even tries to feed Scott and Kerri to them.
  • Evil Poacher: Subverted with Reba from the third film. She's a poacher, but she isn't particularly villainous and ultimately teams up with the heroes against the crocs. She becomes an EPA agent in the fourth film. Jim Brickerman is a straighter example, and is willing to play with peoples lives as he pursues the crocs.
  • Fair Cop: Hector congratulates the female deputy on her great breasts. She thanks him. Sheriff Giove from the fourth movie also counts, despite being old enough to have a teenage daughter.
  • Final Girl: Averted in that all of the major characters stay alive through the end. Although, the crocodile tries to get this trope to be true.
    • In the third movie, Ellie is this to the group of teenagers, and has many of the required character traits for the trope (she does get naked in one scene, but only while changing), although Nathan and his wife and son also survive the movie.
  • Gilligan Cut: "I'm not going to Maine. I'm NOT going to Maine!" *cut to the plane flying over Maine*
  • Gross-Up Close-Up: A flying head gets this treatment.
  • Half the Man He Used to Be: Happens to the first onscreen victim in the first film.
  • Happily Married: In 3, Nathan and Suan have an affectionate marriage with a decent amount of communication between them.
  • The Hero: Jack Wells, the primary POV character and hunter of the crocodile for the first movie, as well as a friend of its victim, and the male half of the romantic couple.
  • High Turnover Rate: There's a new sheriff in every movie, and only one of them even dies.
  • Huge Guy, Tiny Girl: Whenever Kelly is opposite Jack especially but also with Hector Cyr.
  • Hyper-Competent Sidekick: In the second film, the Egomaniac Hunter's assistant Ahmad is far more capable than him and once kills a crocodile with a machete.
  • Iconic Sequel Character: Reformed Criminal Reba first appears in the third film, but is one of the most recognizable human characters in the franchise.
  • Jerkass to One: Brittany is cold and snarky towards Chloe (although not too much) but doesn't seem to have issues with anyone else.
  • Jerk with a Heart of Gold: Brittany in fourth film, displays some casual Anti-Intellectualism and jealousy towards Chloe (who has a little flirtation with her boyfriend), but does help try to pull one of her teammates to safety when he's being eaten and in the aftermath of the first attack, is solemn and upset without being hysterical or The Millstone, and seems grateful for Elaine asking if she's ok.
  • Jump Scare: Used a couple of times with decent results, but the best one is the SECOND crocodile.
  • LEGO Genetics: In Lake Placid: Legacy, it's revealed that the crocodile from this and the original movie were the result of mixing DNA of salt water crocodile and Purussaurus.
  • Lovable Alpha Bitch: Lovable might be putting it too strong, but Brittany from the fourth movie starts out as a more generic Alpha Bitch before showing some more admirable aspects later on. From her first scene, she is jealous of Chloe (who has some mild chemistry with her boyfriend Drew) from the get go and doesn't hesitate to peck away at her through Accidental Misnaming and Anti-Intellectualism, as well as having sex with Drew to further make up his mind. Once the giant crocodiles attack though, she displays real concern for the others and does try to save someone whose being eaten. Afterwards, she is clearly traumatized by what happened and shows a much softer attitude towards Chloe and her friend Elaine throughout the attempts to escape the creatures, never questioning them or endangering the rest of the group.
  • Male Gaze: Hank and Jack shamelessly ogle a hot local as she walks off after asking about the first attack, earning a indignant "please" from Kelly.
  • Misplaced Wildlife:
    • Discussed; the characters openly debate what a giant saltwater crocodile is doing in a lake in Maine. The crocodile expert posits that, miraculously, it swam across two separate oceans. Mrs. Bickerman states that it just showed up one day and hasn't left since.
    • Unless it was the biggest black bear on record, the bear didn't belong in the region either.
  • Monstrous Cannibalism: By the fourth film, it's confirmed that the biggest crocs are eating the smaller ones. Which Real Life crocs do anyway, but in this case it's cited as proof they've run out of other wild prey.
  • Monster Threat Expiration: The more the viewer sees of the giant crocodile, the less of a threat it becomes.
  • Never Smile at a Crocodile: The lake is plagued by a giant-man eating crocodile so fierce that it eats bears for breakfast. The twist is that there were two crocodiles in the lake, a female and a male—and they already mated.
  • Not Now, Kiddo: In 3, Connor repeatedly tries to confide in his parents that he's been feeding the crocodiles, and he's ignored every time.
  • Obvious Trap: Averted in that it's set up for the crocodile instead.
  • Oh, Crap!: The Bear's expression when the croc gets it.
    Jake: You should've seen the look on your face when that croc jumped out the water.
    Kelly: Did you see the look on the bear's face? That was the look.
  • Once is Not Enough: The group tries to drug and trap the crocodile... needless to say, the crocodile is huge for a reason.
  • Pet Monstrosity: It turns out that the old lady living on the lake has been keeping the giant crocodile as a pet for years, occasionally feeding it her livestock. And by the end she's still looking after the baby crocodiles left behind after mama croc has been captured.
  • Properly Paranoid: In an example which has nothing to do with the crocodiles, Brett follows Ellie to the lake in the third movie due to being convinced that one of the boys she left with is perving after her, and he's shown to be right.
  • The Reveal: Mr. Bickerman, the husband of Mrs. Bickerman of the original Lake Placid was the veterinarian of the hybrid crocs. When the organization he was working for ordered the eradication of the crocodiles, he secretly rebelled and save the crocs and took one to his home on Lake Placid, Maine kickstarting the first movie.
  • Sarcastic Title: The lake isn't actually peaceful, it's being terrorized by giant, invasive crocodiles.
  • Safe Driving Aesop: In the fourth film, the swim team only ends up at Lake Placid (into stead of a crocodile-free neighboring lake) after their bus driver misses a road sign due to looking at porn on his cellphone. Later in the movie, Drew and Brittany making out while driving a jet ski keeps them from noticing Joey (another jet-skier who'd wiped out) being attacked by baby crocodiles (although to be fair they might have been too far away to notice anyway).
  • Screaming Woman: Both Kelly and the Sheriff's female deputy do this.
  • Scenery Porn: The lakeside, forest, and nearby meadows are captured pretty gorgeously at the beginning of 3.
  • Sexual Karma: Sheriff Giove and Ryan Loflin are seen having a nice moment in Lake Placid: The Finale Chapter, then going off together and waking up in bed the next morning, sated and happy. This is contrasted with Brittany leading Drew to have sex, partially to keep him from pursuing Chloe instead of her, although interestingly, that scene receives the same, tender musical accompaniment as the two adults get, and both of them seem to have a good time, arguably providing a subtle indication that Brittany and Drew aren't meant to be demonized for it.
  • The Sheriff: Hank Keough in the first film. James Riley, Tony Willinger, and Theresa Giove fill the role in the sequels.
  • Shorter Means Smarter: Kelly is shorter than everybody else while Hector is shorter than Jack and Sheriff Hank Keough.
  • Super-Persistent Predator: The big crocodile, although it's attempted to be somewhat justified.
  • Tagalong Reporter: Cal Miner wants to be one in the second movie, but Sheriff Riley and his deputies just ignore him and he gets eaten while hanging around a dock trying to cover the approach of a crocodile on his own.
  • Tax Deductions: The hunter from the second movie offers to make a donation to the sheriffs department after the death of the (first) crocodile, and says he can make a tax write-off of it when Sheriff Riley thanks him.
  • Team Spirit: The group joins together with the Florida Fish and Game to try and take the crocodile down.
  • Too Dumb to Live: Aaron in Lake Placid 3. Had he choose to follow Ellie to the gunshot noises, he along with Brett would've survived the film but nope. He decided to be an ass and talk about Brett's infidelity and takes the wrong path before becoming croc chow.
  • Tranquil Fury: Hank, after getting caught in Hector's trap. Hector even lampshades it:
    Hector: I would let him down, but he has this odd look of mayhem on his upside-down face.
  • Troubled Fetal Position: In the fourth movie, after they get away from the scene of a gruesome crocodile attack, Elaine finds Brittany sitting down, knees to her chest, and with her arms wrapped around her legs as she looks out across the water.
  • Two-Timing with the Bestie: In the first film, Kevin breaks up with his employee Kelly. Heartbroken by this, she goes to friend and co-worker Myra for support, who was actually with Kevin behind her back. This starts off the plot of the film as Myra suggests that Kelly goes to investigate a monster attack in Maine, where Kelly finds herself happier without their presence.
  • Vitriolic Best Buds: After hating each other for most of the film, Hector and Hank seem to become buddies after finally capturing the crocodile.
  • Volleying Insults: Occurs between Jack and Kelly, as well as Hector and Hank.
  • Wrestler of Beasts: In Lake Placid 2, Jack Struthers tells of how he was tracking a lion that was terrorizing a small village. He finally found it at night when he saw Ahmad trying to fight the lion with his bare hands after it had killed his mother. This story is actually the first clue that Ahmad is the better hunter between himself and Struthers as Ahmad would later reveal that it took Struthers four shots at point-black range — two of which went into Ahmad — before Struthers took it down.
  • You Look Like You've Seen a Ghost: When Hector comes face to face with the crocodile in the water.

Alternative Title(s): Lake Placid 3, Lake Placid 2, Lake Placid The Final Chapter