I have a special connection to Lake Placid, as it was playing in the theater when we saw American Pie, and I voted for Lake Placid. When I finally saw it on VHS/DVD, I really enjoyed it. Another reason I like it is because I ran a Chill adventure years earlier using the very same plot. To a certain extent, it was like seeing my imagination come to life - albeit with different scenes, characters, ideas, and concepts - so to a very limited extent.
Lake Placid has strong acting, characters, direction, and writing, it is just a short movie. That is the major criticism I have heard regarding it. Another is that every character is a witty wise-ass. That works great for some of them, but at a certain point, you realize that all of the characters talk the same way.
Lake Placid may be a thinly disguised and thoroughly Americanized version of the 1980s Australian film called Dark Ages, in which a gigantic crocodile preys upon the residents of a river. There are relatively few similarities, though both films end the same. If you like Lake Placid, or even if you don't, I highly suggest Dark Ages. It has none of the comedy and more action, to boot.
That said, I also recommend Lake Placid.
© C Harris Lynn, 2011