September 7, 2018 Lake Placid: Legacy (Movie Review)
Arriving on Digital & DVD Tuesday, September 4, 2018 through Sony Pictures Home Entertainment, Lake Placid: Legacy directed by Darrell Roodt (Skorokoro 2016, The Lullaby 2017) and written by Jonathan Lloyd Walker, Jeremy Smith, and Matt Venables, all who have worked on series such as Continuum as Van Helsing together, marks the sixth film in the Lake Placid series. Director Darrell Roodt (Skorokoro 2016, The Lullaby 2017). Initially premiering on Syfy on May 28th, it follows a group of young explorers lead by Katherine Barrell (Star Trek: Discovery series, Wynonna Earp series) as Jade and Tim Rozon (Schitt’s Creek series, Wynonna Earp series) as Sam who stumble upon a horrific secret when they break into a site they quickly realize they should have stayed far, far away from.
With Lake Placid: Legacy any audience could easily be fooled by its marketing materials into thinking this is yet another of a hundred easily-produced schlock Horror films. Such an audience would be advised to not get too far ahead of themselves: this is a through-and-through Horror/Thriller, with the all the attractive young people getting torn to pieces that the genre demands. However, it is not exactly schlock – the production values and general effort that went into this film far supercede others of a similar style and intent, and the film is all the better for it.
Visually, Lake Placid: Legacy manages to stay comfortably between “entirely functional” and “genuinely interesting.” In fact, in many ways the visuals are the strongest part of the film – the film is shot crisp and clear, blending the color pallete of 21st century digital film with some great lakeside cinematography. At times, it risks being too clean in fact – of having it’s visuals undercut the grime and filth inherent to a film with this subject matter – but it manages to succeed anyway simply because this is a film that actually leans further into the Thriller side of its genre formula over the Horror side.
This is apparent early, as Lake Placid: Legacy starts off much quicker than similar films. In fact, the beginning of the film would almost fool an audience into thinking they were watching a tense, tech-savvy heist Thriller. This is not the sort of Horror film that takes its time building up the atmosphere, instead the pace is quick and much of the film’s strengths come from drawing out suspense rather than reveling in horror.
One particular area of note is the dialogue, for reasons both positive and negative. The banter between the characters often does lend a degree of naturalism to affairs; the dialogue as written rarely feels stilted. This mixes well with the aforementioned quick pace to the film, and when things gel it actually makes for quite a slick and enjoyable product.
That having been said, there are multiple times when the dialogue actually lets the film down, and such an event is annoyingly intermittent. This is the result of dialogue that can be overly expository and performers who do not sell their lines like they should. The overly expository dialogue can stick out like a sore thumb and ruins the immersion in the experience – characters go out of their way to not just explain important plot points in the most didactic way possible, but also to specifically articulate the themes that would have been infinitely stronger if they had been left unsaid.
The performances are more mixed, with few actors delivering a consistently strong performance but rather all of them submitting performances that vary wildly in quality across Lake Placid: Legacy. That having been said, the ensemble energy of the performers is admirable and gives the film an extra shot of energy that meshes well with its cool and efficient style. Is the immersion occasionally broken? Yes, but the actors still have enough chemistry to often make up for it, and this makes the film automatically more entertaining than if it had been whittled down and focused on just one or two characters.
Of particular note is the level of quality Lake Placid: Legacy reaches when photographing its underwater sequences; to put it simply, the film displays a level of technical mastery that it did not need to possess and it truly shows here. On the flip side of the coin, however, the special effects used to animate the film’s primary “monster” are not nearly up to the quality of the other effects, and looks especially jarring when juxtaposed with how clean the rest of the film usually looks. It is a shame and robs the film of quite a bit of its tension. For all this CrypticRock give Lake Placid: Legacy 3 out of 5 stars.