When a man is eaten alive by an unknown creature, the local Game Warden (Bill Pullman) teams up with a paleontologist (Bridget Fonda) from New York to find the beast. Add to the mix an eccentric philanthropist with a penchant for "Crocs" (Oliver Platt), and here we go! This quiet, remote lake is suddenly the focus of an intense search for a crocodile with a taste for live animals...and people.

Steve Miner doesn't waste a moment - less than 80 minutes of film time and all of it fun.

In a beautiful lake in Maine a scuba diver drops off into the water to tag beavers... the local sheriff Hank Keough (Brendan Gleeson) sits in the runabout waiting for him. Unfortunately only half of him comes back. No-one can imagine what lurks in the Black Lake - it was going to be called Lake Placid but the name was already taken. The local game and fishing warden is called in - he`s Jack Wells (Bill Pullman) and a nature- hating paleontoligist Kelly Scott (Bridget Fonda) is sent from the city to source a tooth found in the dead man... the party by the lake is almost complete, the only missing ingredient is eccentric millionaire and crocodile-lover Hector Cyr (Oliver Platt).

This genre film has one important thing going for it - it doesn`t outstay its welcome at a running time of about 80 minutes. And packed into that time are some admittedly cliched toe-tingling moments but also some entertaining dialogue from a cast who are able to pitch their performances at just the right level of ironic acknowledgement of having to do a silly job but do it well. Irish actor Brendan Gleeson is fabulous as the portly sheriff - it`s his first role as an American and he`s very convincing, and Oliver Platt actually succeeds wonderfully as the completely over-the-top Hector. Bill Pullman puts a stiff upper lip into his work but Bridget Fonda is quite spritely as Kelly.

The film succeeds mainly because of David E. Kelly`s screenplay, he was also the producer and he`s been responsible for some very successful television series like Chicago Hope, Fences and Ally McBeal. Steve Minor was the director, he`s a colleague of Kelly`s in television but he manages to put that wide screen to good use and his comic pacing is excellent.