The first Lake Placid movie was very enjoyable, if with its flaws. The second was awful, with a waste of its big names. The third was an improvement, but still mediocre at best. The fourth, strangely called The Final Chapter, had some big flaws but was much better than expected and the best since the original. This latest entry, Lake Placid vs. Anaconda for me was the worst since the second movie.
Lake Placid vs. Anaconda is saved from total doom by the good performances of Yancy Butler, Robert Englund and Corin Nemec. Butler is very authoritative and 'kicks ass' (a term I very rarely use) in her very feisty role, and Englund has indeed some funny moments and is suitably ruthless and nutty as well. Nemec is appropriately hard-nosed and is entertainingly sarcastic. The Bulgarian scenery is reasonably attractive too.
What does stop the scenery from making more of an impression is that Lake Placid vs. Anaconda does have a rather drab look, the photography is not expansive enough and is a mixture of static to rushed and dizzying. The special effects, as expected, are rather dire, looking cartoony, artificial-looking (like large bits of rubber), inconsistently sized and incomplete, especially the anaconda. The creatures, both anaconda and crocodile on top of looking cheap, are not threatening at all and somewhat under-utilised with nowhere near enough of the anaconda.(there's also not enough of them together either). The music is not very well placed and is overbearing and not eerie enough, sometimes inappropriately jaunty.
Here, the dialogue is full of stilted gibberish, and a lot of the humour is too cheesy and sometimes appears at the wrong time, cheapened even further by some horrendous dubbing that is far too obvious. The story is a confused mess of ideas and doesn't seem to know whether it's trying to be comedy or horror. The comedy, apart from some amusing moments, is very badly written, reeks of cheese and appears in inappropriate places sometimes, and this is coming from somebody who knew not to take things seriously. The horror moments completely lack tension or suspense, is not used enough and often too brief, further disadvantaged by sloppy editing and the cheap-looking creature. The characters are basically every cliché and stereotype in the book, and with a lack of charm, empathy and apart from Butler's and Englund's are annoying and bland in personality.
Much of the acting, apart from Butler, Englund and Nemec, ranges from stiff, melodramatic to non-existent. Oliver Walker's comic relief annoyed rather than amused at the end of the day. The whole movie felt very under-directed as well. Overall, pretty poor and the worst of the Lake Placid series since the second movie, though not as bad.
Review by TheLittleSongbird from the Internet Movie Database.