Rogue (2007)

Rogue (2007)

Welcome to the Terrortory

An idyllic wildlife cruise turns into a fight for survival when the tourist boat responds to a distress flare further down the river. Heading into unexplored territory, the boat is struck by something big and is forced to beach on a small island in the middle of a lake. With the tide rising and darkness closing in, the tourists soon realise that they are at the mercy of a giant rogue crocodile which is ready to hunt and protect it’s turf to the very end.

 

After what seems like an eternity of terrible straight-to-DVD and Sci-Fi Channel original films about killer crocodiles and alligators, the monster-on-the-loose public finally gets the film they have been waiting for so long to see – Rogue. It seems so incomprehensible that this film could have almost the same idea as Lake Placid 2 or Primeval yet be on the opposite end of the spectrum in the ‘worst films of all time’ stakes. Directed by Wolf Creek head honcho Greg McLean, you know from the start that this is going to be gritty, brutal and a tense affair and he delivers exactly what you would expect and more. In fact I just wasn’t expecting Rogue to be as good as it was…….I’m so used to just seeing crappy crocodiles munching through teenagers and token characters that I’d forgotten what exactly makes a good monster flick.

For a start, the cinematography is awesome and really captures the raw, brutal nature of the Australian wilderness. You do get the feeling that these people are miles away from any help and they need to look after themselves because rescue is a long, long way away. You get lulled into a false sense of security during the opening twenty minutes as the tour boat heads through some gorgeous territory and you forget what you actually wanted to see. But fear not as danger isn’t too far away. Once the croc makes it’s presence felt, the film shifts up a couple of gears and really kept me on tender hooks. The film does an awesome job of ramping up the tension to heavy breathing levels once the daylight starts to fade and the water levels begin to rise. There are some absolutely gripping scenes including the one where the tourists attempt to escape the island by letting one of them swim across the other side of the lake with a rope and suspending it in mid-air. Watching each person attempt to shimmy across the rope with the still water below them clearly hiding a fate worse than anything you could imagine.

The crocodile looks terrifying and is arguably the best CGI crocodile I’ve seen. The animators were clearly not wanting to make it super-agile like so many other crocodiles on film seem to be. They have obviously studied footage of real crocodiles to see how they move and behave and have attempted to replicate this to perfection. This one glides through the water with deadly silence, slowly drags its heavy body across the ground when it’s on land and yet is still capable of lightning-fast reactions when it needs to have them. It’s not on screen a lot until the final third but such a good job is done of creating its unseen menace that you don’t need to see it because you know it’s hanging around, watching the tourists from below the surface and waiting for the moment to strike.

The final third is arguably the film’s weakest point with one of the survivors attempting to go one-on-one with the crocodile in its lair. It felt a bit unnecessary and almost obligatory when arguably the most logical conclusion was to have the survivors just escape and leave the croc to protect its turf from anyone else that tried to cross it. Also the survival of a previously missing character is a real Hollywood-esque addition which it could easily have done without. We don’t always need to see happy endings (look at poor Samuel L. Jackson in Deep Blue Sea for crying out loud!). It’s a bit of a cheap cop-out and a kick in the teeth when the rest of the film had pretty much panned out against type.

But at least the characters aren’t just partying teenagers out for sex, drugs and drink. These people are just a random bunch of tourists with some back story or traits to make them stand out a little. There’s even a family thrown in for good measure with their young daughter so at least some bets will be off by the end of this one. On the acting side, Radha Mitchell is always good value for money and there’s a chance to see a pre-fame Sam Worthington as one of the tourists. Worthington is now better known as an action hero in the likes of Clash of the Titans and Terminator: Salvation. Check him out here before his pay demands sky rocketed. Across the board, the cast do their jobs well even if some of the characters they portray are minor sideshows to the main focus.

 

I honestly can’t recommend Rogue highly enough. Maybe it’s because my standards have been destroyed by the slew of crocodile flicks that have been hammering my DVD player for the past few years or maybe it is actually a decent flick. The finale ruins the film but don’t let that it bother you. Just sit back and enjoy the best killer crocodile flick since….well ever really!

 

 ★★★★★★★★☆☆ 

 

 

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