Crocodile (2000)

Crocodile (2000)

Ever Feel like Something is Watching You?

A group of teenagers taking a boat trip along the a remote lake in Southern California disturb a batch of oversized crocodile eggs only to then encounter the full wrath of the giant crocodile that laid them.

 

Tobe Hooper is familiar with the tale of killer crocodiles as he followed up his remarkable debut in The Texas Chainsaw Massacre with Death Trap, the not-too-dissimilar tale of a psychotic redneck who murdered guests at his hotel and fed them to his giant crocodile pet. That was back in 1977 when Hooper was still considered to be a major talent in the genre. His stock has fallen considerably over the years and despite decent genre offerings such as The Funhouse and Poltergeist, his career has been on the slide for a long time. Crocodile is not going to change that opinion.

Quite why someone with the background in the genre as Hooper has would direct something as low grade and pedestrian as this is beyond me. Literally any second rate hack director could have taken the hot seat here and put out the same end product. No doubt rushed into development to cash in on Lake Placid, Crocodile is not a classic. But it’s not a total stinker either.

If you’ve seen one of these ‘monster-on-the-loose’ flicks then you’ll have already seen Crocodile. Focusing on a bunch of characters stranded in the middle of nowhere with a big, angry and hungry monster after them, they’re the sort of film that studios love to make. Safe bets. No risks taken. They’re simply recycling a formula which worked for other films in the past and will continue to work for films in the future. Filling the film with teenagers is always a good commercial move (since they’re appealing to the film’s target audience) but it’s a downright horrid critical move. Every clichéd character in the book is here from the dumb jock, the prankster, the slut, the arguing couple, the snobby one, backwoods hicks and an incompetent sheriff who is there to warn everyone of the dangers of the lake only to find himself standing a little close when the time comes.

To be fair, the teenagers look like they’re have a good time to start with but they soon use up their quota of charm quickly and you’ll be wishing they’d feed themselves to the croc sooner rather than later. Thankfully most of the people are here to act as croc fodder and the croc doesn’t go hungry for one minute. It’s just a pity it takes the croc a bit too long to get snacking.

Hooper takes a leaf out of Spielberg’s book early on, only showing us the croc in small glimpses: an eye here, a glimpse of tooth there. This works well, creating a reasonable amount of tension early on and at least getting the audience to anticipate the eventual full body appearance of the monster. The end result isn’t as underwhelming as you would expect. The croc looks pretty good in some scenes when the real-life animatronic model is used. You get a nice estimate of its actual size as it eerily drifts along the lake just under the surface. It’s when the croc is required to do sudden movements and turn from side-to-side quickly where the CGI takes over and the effects lose their way. Its size is constantly fluctuating depending on whatever the story requires it to do next which, for the most, is for it to eat the cast one-by-one. There’s not an amazing amount of gore but there’s enough to keep bloodhounds satisfied.

 

For the horror genre overall, Crocodile is a waste of time. It’s a slasher film with a crocodile instead of a masked maniac and not a very good one at that. However as far as killer crocodile flicks go, Crocodile must rank up there quite highly. The realistic croc, high body count and smatterings of blood raises the rating a little more than it should.

 

 ★★★★★☆☆☆☆☆ 

 

 

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