Razortooth (2007)

Razortooth (2007)

Death From Below…

Four college students head down to a swamp in a small Southern community in order to gain extra credits by helping a scientist with his research into Asian swamp eels, which are threatening the local eco-system. However they soon find out that, in an attempt to make the eels sterile, the scientist has in fact created a giant mutant eel which has an appetite far greater than the fish in the lake and is soon eating it’s way through the local population.

 

Here we go again! Another straight-to-DVD creature feature flick comes crawling out of the swamp, bringing with it a pungent smell of nasty swamp water and squelching it’s muddy feet all over the ground. Razortooth is the ultimate craptacular mix of two of the most over-populated creature feature sub-genres: the giant snake flick (come on, an eel is a snake in all but name) and that of the aquatic creature sub-genre (you really struggle to find suitable monsters except sharks in this genre). This means that there are double the clichés, double the possibilities and double the rubbish. You’ll see eels do things you could never dream of. You’ll see special effects so bottom grade, that it’s like watching a game of Pong after playing on Gears of War. You’ll see a never-ending supply of stereotypes foolishly hang around the swamp. The list is endless. Needless to say that Razortooth is hard going for those of who us who have been weaned on this sort of staple creature feature diet. There’s just no story left to tell in these films anymore. Simply swap the creature and you’ve got an entirely new film.

Right from the opening scenes of the eel munching its way through a group of cops chasing after some escaped fugitives, the film becomes more of a endurance test than an actual pleasure. How many times have you watched your favourite film? Have you got to the stage where you can recite lines of dialogue and you know the exact scene that is coming up next? Well watching Razortooth for the first time almost feels like you’re watching your favourite film for the fiftieth time. Dialogue is predictable. Characters do what you expect them to do. The film pans out in the precise manner that it should do and why is that? Because it’s so predictable and you’ve seen this before, just under names like Frankenfish and Sea Beast. I keep watching them because there’s an odd one or two that actually do something slightly different with the material. But to find that gem, you’ve got to sift through way too much rubbish.

So go on then, roll out the creature feature character clichés please……….wildlife expert and local authority figure team up to stop the eel. Check. ‘Southern’ community stereotypes including the trailer trash clan, the gun nut and the fat redneck that just eats Southern fried chicken. Check. A couple of jocks, a nerdy girl and a nerdy guy. Check. Loads of random townsfolk to provide monster fodder. Check. The scientist who has created a monster and is trying to protect it. Check. There’s just no one to root for – the two leads are more bothered about rekindling their marriage than they are trying to kill the eel. Give us some sympathetic characters we can associate with and then maybe you have room to work with the script.

The dialogue is terrible and at one ironic moment, one of the students says that “I’ve seen this movie before.” So have we, mate! The moment in question is probably the highlight of the film for me as it spoofs a scene from Tremors (where they pick up the old farmer’s hat and find his severed head lying underneath). Being that the highlight has been lifted from another film, it’s a sad indication of how little I enjoyed this.

The eel itself looks like one of the leftover heads from Hydra with its huge teeth and shiny, dome-head. I could almost imagine this thing popping up in Finding Nemo as it’s not scary in the slightest. Once again, the eel moves way too fluently and quickly for you to suspend your belief for a moment and accept that it is real. After all, that’s the intention isn’t it? This thing glides through the water with ease, climbs up trees to perform overhead ambushes and is able to squeeze through tiny water pipes in order to suck it’s victims through shower holes. In one laughable moment, some poor schmuck gets pulled down into his portaloo. Having something crawl out of the toilet to bite you is a pretty common fear but it’s handled here in such a ridiculous manner that the next time I suspect something is coming up, I’ll drop a few more pounds down to finish it off!

There’s plenty of CGI gore too as the eel likes biting body parts off some victims and swallowing others whole. It does get well fed although plot holes crop up like crazy when the eel kills off some people almost instantly (the fodder characters) but decides to swim around others for a bit, playing with them before letting them go.

 

Enough with the creature features already! Razortooth isn’t as abysmal as I’m making out, especially if you haven’t seen too many of this type of film. But for anyone else, just buy the damned film, stick it on your shelf and make a note never to watch it unless the end of the world is nigh.

 

 ★★★☆☆☆☆☆☆☆ 

 

 

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