The Final Chapter actually wasn’t for Friday the 13th, and it’s unlikely to be the last time we are treated to the sight of monstrous CG crocodiles devouring poachers, high school students, and other hapless fools. And that’s okay, because if you are into that sort of thing, Lake Placid: The Final Chapter (part 4 in the series) delivers the goods. It takes a little while to get going, but once it does, those giant crocs find all sorts of ways to kill on water and land alike.
The formerly bucolic small town of Lake Placid is under siege. Enormous man-eating crocodiles have made things unsafe for everyone. Residents are understandably upset and want to know what law enforcement plans to do about it. An electric fence has been built around the lake, but clearly people don’t want to have to avoid water forever.
Despite the inherent danger and past carnage, local authorities seem to be on their own. Said local authorities are led by Sheriff Giove (Heroes and Law & Order star Elisabeth Rohm) and Fish and Game Warden Reba (Yancy Butler). Along with a few local police officers, Sheriff Giove and Reba attempt to end the croc threat once and for all.
Meanwhile, some high school students, chaperoned by the swim team coach and a bus driver who watches porn on his phone while driving, are heading to a beach on some sort of senior class trip. Of course the driver goes to the wrong beach due to the porn viewing and the bus ends up inside the fence smack dab in the middle of croc country.
The movie gets off to a really slow start. It takes a full 35 minutes for a croc to munch on someone onscreen. During that time viewers are subjected to not one but two perfunctory romances, one involving the sheriff and another law enforcement officer and the other centering on the sheriff’s daughter and a high school hunk.
Thankfully, once we are treated to the first croc attack, they come fast and furious until the end credits roll. The croc kills are extremely bloody and often quite gory. They bite heads off, remove limbs, and basically tear most victims to pieces. Let’s face it, people tuning in to this movie want to see a healthy serving of messy croc attacks, and they will not be disappointed.
Another major asset is the intentional humor. Butler and Robert Englund (as a poacher) both ham it up and appear to be having a blast. Butler in particular is a one-liner machine and has the best quips, sarcastic and profane. They liven up the proceedings every time they are on screen and keep things light and fun. There are also amusing exchanges (“Chloe needs your help!”/”Yeah, and Brittany needs her head!”) and hilarious sequences including one in which someone beats a croc to death with a gun.
It’s not high art, but Lake Placid: The Final Chapter is a cut above the average Syfy creature feature. It is funny, the performances by Rohm, Butler, and Englund are good, and the gore is plentiful. If you like giant killer crocs, it’s a must-see.