Director: Tobe Hooper
A bunch of beer oriented College students hit a lake to celebrate Spring Break. All is gnarly until a giant crocodile crashes the party.
Tobe Hooper never lived up to "The Texas Chainsaw Massacre" and this film is no exception. On the other hand, this man-chomping giant lizard entry is good for a few cheap jolts. First off, I love the chemistry the party kids have (Duncan is the man!). It rings true (for once) and trust me I know…I’m a party animal who likes to kick it with his boyz. Seeing the kids have a blast made me want to jump through the screen and open up a beer alongside them.
The movie itself plays a lot like a slasher flick but with a croc instead of a serial killer. We get the around the fire croc story, the stalking in the woods (Blair Witch-like), the town sheriff on the case, backwoods moron getting eaten, lots of running…the works.
I think we all could have gone without the "I cheated on my girl" aspect of the film, since it didn’t bring anything to the movie except endless bickering. The flick’s attempt at "drama" is clumsy but easily overlooked. I did appreciate the character buildup though. The first 20 minutes of the flick felt like a high-octane teeny bop flick. Fun stuff!
When the movie is at its highest energy level, it rocks, the first massive croc attack is a blast! But the flick started to lose me after that with its backwoods hicks and Sheriff on the hunt subplots. I could care less about them and wanted the focus of the story to stay on the kids. The second half doesn’t live up to the kickarse first half.
The characters themselves are engaging but did the script really have to follow every slasher flick rule ever set down? For once, I’d like to see the "good girl" die and the "slut" live. This rule is played out! I’m also fed up with dogs being heroes in horror flicks, it feels tired. I just wanted that puppy to become croc snack…it didn’t happen. I can’t wait for a horror film to come along and break those kinds of rules and in that respect surprise its audience.
Overall, this movie is a watchable romp with kool teens, some fun croc sequences and some bloodshed. But the flick doesn’t even attempt to bend the mold established by previous films within the same genre, it actually follows it to the letter. Generic is the word. Chew on this…
The Croc sometimes looks really kool and sometimes really fake. We do get some nice surprises though. We also get lots of people getting chewed up and even one get regurgitated. Enough red here to paint one of my bedroom walls.
Mark Mclaughlin (Brady) is likeable as the "good guy" and does his job well. Caitlin Martin (Claire) is hard to pin down: Is she supposed to play a ditz or does she only come across as one? She’s cute but her acting is distracting. The "tender" moments between her and Mclaughlin feel awkward. Chris Solari (Duncan) steals the show as the happy go lucky A-hole. I have a friend like that (ok, it’s me), so I related to him. Sommer Knight (Sunny) is perfect as the token "tramp" with hints of depth, I was convinced. Julie Mintz (Anabelle) is very hot…that’s it. The rest of the gang is convincing but I will admit hating that kid with the "money" t-shirt. What an annoying little brat! I just wanted to slap that beeyatch out!
T & A
Sommer Knight (Sunny) shows us her butt (thanks babe) and almost reveals a tit. The ladies will be happy to hear that most of the dudes here are in shape and like to go shirtless. Who says horror is sexist?
Hooper does well with the suspense and the boo scares, he got me a few times. The film looks good with the occasional groovy shot. Too bad the energy level isn’t constant. After the energetic first half, the flick shifts into low gear. Nice scenery though.
The first 15 minutes is all about fun pop rock songs. We get like 6 in a row or something. I want the soundtrack!!! The score is also effective (creepy) but I will admit to hating the guitar twang that pops up everytime the Sheriff walks in. Cheesy.
You could do worst than Crocodile, it’s a good time waster. Some of the scenes with the croc are fun and the teens are actually close to reality. But if you’re looking for any semblance of originality...look somewhere else. This one starts off very well but the promise of something different is let down by its generic second half. The film should have taken more chances.
This is Hooper’s first flick since The Mangler in 1995. He’s been directing TV for five years. Welcome back, Tobe.