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Rogue (UR)
DVD disk
08.21.2008 By: Mathew Plale
Rogue (UR) order
Director:
Greg McLean

Actors:
Michael Vartan
Radha Mitchell
Sam Worthington

Rating:
Movie:
Extras:
Overall:

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WHAT'S IT ABOUT?
While in a wildlife river cruise, a group of tourists gets stranded on a tiny island...with a hungry crocodile lurking just feet away.
IS IT A GOOD MOVIE?
Rogue could have been just another killer croc movie à la Lake Placid and Primeval. And it probably should have been, considering the man at the helm directed one of the most gruesome examples of torture porn ever.

Greg McLean burst onto the scene in 2003 with his debut exploitation flick Wolf Creek. But instead of going for cheap shocks this time around, the Aussie director did his homework, likely drawing equal inspiration from 1980’s Alligator and fellow Splat Packer Neil Marshall’s The Descent, all for the purpose of forging a coexistence of over-the-top scenarios and meticulous suspense. And that’s the movie’s biggest problem.

Those who love Wolf Creek and seek out videos slapped with the ‘Dimension Extreme’ label are bound to be disappointed in Rogue, which spends more time as a breathing edition of ‘National Geographic: The Australian Issue’ than living up to the promise of its first scene and the box art. Close calls and gorgeous cinematography? Bag that, let’s see some livestock get eaten!

What is anticipated and delivered is a batch of undeveloped, bickering cutouts you’d never want to be trapped on a river cruise with: the heroic, almost-handsome male (Michael Vartan), the cute quasi-love interest (Radha Mitchell), Outback rednecks, and the token black guy who gets eaten in the first reel. What? No black guy? What sort of horror movie is this?!

How can someone love Rogue? I don’t ask that with the same attitude I’d ask, “How can someone love Hostel? Or House of 1000 Corpses?” But there are two movies here: the well-paced suspense and the gory horror, which McLean isn’t yet skilled enough to mesh.
THE EXTRAS
Feature Commentary by Writer/Producer/Director Greg McLean: McLean, despite flying solo here, keeps the track interesting, providing insight on the production and fun facts. Worth a listen.

The Making of Rogue: A Documentary by Greg McLean (46:05): Most of the key players (director McLean, actors Vartan and Mitchell, late DP Will Gibson, etc.) are present in this comprehensive documentary, which explores inspirations, filming (complete with croc scares), special effects/animatronics, the eerie score, and more through interviews and on-set footage.

Welcome to the Territory: A Gallery of Mini Documentaries: This section divides itself into three parts, all of which are interesting: The Effects (17:26), where we join the team as they create the croc, death/fight scenes, and makeup; Music (14:39), in which composer Tetaz discusses the score and explores its evolution; and Northern Territory (14:44), which takes a look at the locations/inspirations of Rogue.

The Real Rogue (2:29) is a brief podcast with some of the crew.

Theatrical Trailer.
FINAL DIAGNOSIS
Rogue is admirable for what it tried to accomplish (and even somewhat did). The score and cinematography are effective, as are the effects, but the mixture of suspense and horror just doesn't work for this kind of story.
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