Main cast: Corin Nemec (Will “Tully” Tull), Yancy Butler (Reba), Skye Lourie (Bethany Tull), Stephen Billington (Beach), Annabel Wright (Sarah Murdoch), Oliver Walker (Deputy Ferguson), Laura Dale (Tiffani Jones), Ali Eagle (Margo), Heather Gilbert (Jane), Nigel Barber (The Mayor), and Robert Englund (Jim Bickerman)
Director: AB Stone
At last, the crossover we have all been waiting for: the giant crocodiles of the Lake Placid series versus the giant anacondas of the Anaconda franchise! Mind you, by the time this movie comes out, both franchises have hit the bottom of the barrel and kept digging deeper, so Lake Placid vs. Anaconda is more of a last, desperate effort to wring what little mileage that is left in both series. Well, it’s unexpectedly not too bad, much to my shock.
Yancy Butler is back, reprising the crocodile-phobic sheriff who also appeared in the last two or three Lake Placid sequels – sorry, I am not keeping track of that franchise – and this time around, Reba actually has more involvement in the whole plot, which is nice. She is now the sheriff of Black Lake, and really, with a name like that, the town surely won’t have any trouble coming its way. As some nod to past Anaconda movies, Sarah Murdoch is the daughter of some scientist obsessed with the fountain of youth serum obtained from the Black Orchid – which from past movies is explained to be behind the snakes’ growth spurt. Now, she wants to mix the anaconda blood with the giant crocodile blood to create some kind of perfect age-busting serum, and naturally, the anaconda and the giant crocodiles all break loose when the inevitable “Oops, they got loose and all of us are going to die!” drama happens in the lab.
When Reba realizes that crocodiles may be responsible for the mounting number of dead bodies in town, she calls US Fish and Wildlife Officer Will Tull to help. Meanwhile, Tully’s daughter is on an initiation trip with a sorority to – yes, you guess it – Black Lake. Meanwhile, Sarah and her second-in-command Beach as well as their mercenaries are also joining the party, although she only wants her anaconda back and everyone and everything else can die for all she cares.
Okay, this a low budget flick, so the bad news is that the crocodile and the anaconda on the movie poster are far more realistic than any of the CGI seen in this movie. Seriously, it’s like they let this movie be the blank canvas for total newbies to experiment their CGI magic skills on, and the result is, to put it nicely, that these newbies still have much to learn. The anaconda, especially is at a stupefying level of awfulness, and the less said about the “gore”, the better. It’s pretty obvious that the “blood” and such are all added in during post-production, likely by interns who are doing this kind of thing for the very first time. However, this also means that the movie is unintentionally hilarious, especially when watched with liberal amounts of alcohol and other fun stuff.
The script also tries to be more comedic than scary, which makes sense, as if this movie were going to be awful, it may as well go all out to be hilariously awful. It kind of succeeds. While Tully and her daughter are straight-laced types with obvious plot armors, Reba is hilarious as the acerbic lady that doesn’t want to see any scaly thing again if she could help it. Tiffani, the psychotic leader of the sorority, is also hilarious, although that is due more to Laura Dale’s campy, cartoon-like portrayal of a terrible person. Ms Dale is so over the top when it comes to everything, and yet, the whole thing works. The delivery and the timing are both on point. Less successful is Annabel Wright, who comes off more like someone trying very hard to play a psycho – maybe she’s just too nice to play such a role, and it shows, as her character’s over the top villainy comes off as more forced than anything else.
Ms Dale and Yancy Butler are the true MVPs here, but Berkeley Anderson’s script also has some hilarious scenes too. Sure, it requires considerable amount of suspension of disbelief to imagine that these huge monstrous creatures can sneak around or even pop up in one’s line of vision without being detected much sooner – seriously, these people often can’t see a huge-ass crocodile or snake in front of them until they are practically kissing those things – but it still gets me chuckling now and then. Tiffani’s scenes are just pure gold, while I won’t mind seeing a spin-off with Reba and her hapless deputy flailing against sharknados and other Syfy nonsense.
In the end, some cast members end up managing to pull Lake Placid vs. Anaconda out of the putrid pile by succeeding in embodying the “We don’t care, we know this movie is crap, but we just want to have fun!” nature of the film, and even the blander characters aren’t too bad here. Sure, it’s not a good movie by any means, but it manages to still be entertaining in ways that count. All things considered, there is some consolation to be had, in that both franchises come to an end with some semblance of dignity after the violation they received with all those vomit-inducing sequels in the past. Well, until some moron decides to reboot things, that is.