I am a huge fan of both the Lake Placid and the Anaconda franchises so I was unbelievably excited when the crossover was announced… in November 2013! After 16 months of complete silence, it was finally confirmed that Lake Placid vs Anaconda would be premiering in April. And the film is kinda disappointing but definitely worth watching.
First of all let’s make this clear, Lake Placid vs Anaconda is pretty much just Lake Placid 5: This Time With Snakes and certainly not a balanced crossover. The film is set at Clear Lake, the only returning cast are from Lake Placid 4, the crocs get a greater percentage of the screen time and subsequently many more kills. The titular anacondas (of which there are only two) look nothing like their previous incarnations and the only connection to their franchise is Annabel Wright’s devilish lead villain Sarah Murdoch, the daughter of the John Rhys-Davies character from Anaconda 3 & 4.
Strangely enough, this is actually the first LP sequel to try and emulate the original film’s comedic edge, only replacing the witty dialogue and snappy back-and-forth between Gleeson and Platt with oddball slapstick and over-the-top absurdity. The new character Deputy Ferguson borders on being unbearable and second tier antagonist Tiffani is perhaps the most obnoxious character the franchise has ever produced.
That being said, there is still a lot to enjoy in Lake Placid vs Anaconda. The main villains, comprising of the aforementioned Sarah Murdoch and her henchmen Beach, work really well together and tagging Robert Englund, making a surprise return as Jim Bickerman, is a fantastic idea. Creature Feature veteran and newcomer to the franchise Corin Nemec is reliably fun as the new fish and wildlife character Tully with Sky Lourie and Ali Eagle, equally impressing as Beth and Margo.
However the real star of the show and of the entire franchise is still Yancy Butler as Reba. Arguably a more neutered incarnation than we’ve seen before (perhaps the character is developing), Reba is now the Sheriff of Aroostook County and the second you see Butler onscreen with those eyebrows and that voice, you know that you’re in safe hands. She’s both funny and badass with the unstoppable attitude and dry wit that really make her stand apart from the rest. Partnering her with the buffoon Ferguson feels like it should have been successful and funny but she works great with Nemec’s Tully.
Ultimately I would love for both franchises to continue, albeit separately in the future. I feel like there is more gold to be mined from the ever-growing Bickerman dynasty and watching Reba’s slow career progression to the top. I mean, she’s gone from Poacher to Fish & Wildlife Warden to County Sheriff, where will she go next?