Crocodile 2: Death Roll (2001)

Crocodile 2: Death Roll (2001)

From the creators of Crocodile and Spiders

A gang of bank robbers on the run with some stolen loot hijack a busy passenger plane during a storm. But the plane crash lands in a Mexican swamp where the survivors are picked off by a giant crocodile.

 

Nu Image roll another dismal sequel off their ‘monster on the loose’ production line with Crocodile 2: Death Roll, an unrelated follow-up to Tobe Hooper’s forgettable Crocodile. After all, nothing sells tickets like another generic ‘when animals attack’ horror flick. Well, in the case of Crocodile 2: Death Roll, it’s not tickets but the bottom shelf in the video store or bargain bucket at your local supermarket that this will be selling from.

Instead of spending too much money by bringing back Tobe Hooper (though after the original, it’s no surprise they didn’t even consider him), Nu Image handed over the director’s chair to Gary Jones, fresh from making Spiders, another of Nu Image’s ‘when animals attack’ films. Spiders was an enjoyable little creature feature flick which was better than it deserved to be (and to which Nu Image also produced a sequel) but there is none of that sense of fun prevailing in Crocodile 2: Death Roll. It’s a dull, lifeless creature feature with limited entertainment value.

Crocodile 2: Death Roll hardly showers itself in glory from the start and makes its task in hand even more difficult. It seems content in playing to format, trotting out a load of generic action clichés as the hijackers take over the plane and it crash lands in the swamp. It wouldn’t be so bad if this section was over and done with quickly but it takes almost a third of the film to finally get to the crocodile. Here, the usual monster movie tropes come into play and the script sits back, clearly expecting the audience to do the rest of the hard work. It’s embarrassingly predictable and there’s never any real sense of horror at the situation the characters find themselves trapped in. Maybe that’s down to the fact that there’s hardly a likeable character amongst the whole cast. Veteran Martin Kove pops up here somewhere as a tracker and his performance is arguably the best part of the film. I always liked him as the evil sensei Kreese in the Karate Kid films and Kove brings a little of that intensity and menace to the role here. He’s along for an easy pay cheque though and it’s obvious to see. Kove’s role is way too small for him to save the film in any way but at least it alleviates some of the dullness for a bit.

The rest of the cast is shocking though. The criminal gang are particularly over-played and will instantly get on your nerves, particularly Darryl Theirse. The script has them swearing every couple of words which is not only tiresome but it highlights how limited the writing vocabulary actually was and how short on creativity the writers were. Did they really need to swear every few words to get across how villainous and evil they were? It’s cheap writing. Too much emphasis is placed upon these criminals and not enough on the other caricature survivors – hell I’d have taken the teenage characters from the first one over these any day of the week. Besides which, it always bugs me when horror films like this make a bunch of criminals their main characters and then subject them to a terrifying ordeal. I’m not sure where the empathy is supposed to come from the audience – an eye for eye is what I say – so the quicker these law-breakers receive a just punishment at the teeth of the crocodile, the better.

The animatronic crocodile looks mean enough when it’s called upon for a few shots. It’s not used very often and the remainder of the croc’s screen time consists of some ropey CGI. Whilst this wouldn’t be much of a problem if the film was shot mainly during the day like the original, the film is shot mainly at night where you can’t see much of what is going on anyway. It also rains a lot to further add a natural screen to hide the croc’s shortcomings. Not only does this hide the crocodile’s CGI deficiencies but it deprives the audience of some much-needed satisfaction with rather disappointing kill scenes. Let’s face it – this is the only reason anyone wants to see this type of film and hiding all of the big money shots in as much darkness as possible really smacks of not understanding your audience.

 

Barely memorable and with little to keep horror fans glued to the TV, Crocodile 2: Death Roll is a perfect example of the lowest that this sub-genre can reach when no one really seems to bother. Hooper’s film was a disappointment – this one is somehow worse. Funnily enough though, it’s still head-and-shoulders above the never-ending slew of Lake Placid sequels that would follow on Sy Fy!

 

 ★★★☆☆☆☆☆☆☆ 

 

 

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