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Croc (DVD)

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Croc DVDReviewed by The Foywonder

Starring Michael Madsen, Peter Tuinstra, Sherry Phungprasert, Elizabeth Healey, Scott Hazell

Directed by Stewart Raffil

Distributed by Genius Products, LLC.


Croc is every bit as generic as its title implies. A positively perfunctory exercise in nature gone amok filmmaking, if not for the exotic Thailand locales and Thai supporting actors – some of whom recite their lines in stilted English – Croc would just be another run-of-the-mill killer animal movie that’s short on fun and long on formula. Eventually even the Thai flavoring cannot save Croc from being just another mundane killer crocodile flick in a long line of mundane killer crocodile flicks.

A really big crocodile starts terrorizing a Thailand tourist resort area. In all honesty, that’s practically the entire film’s plot in a nutshell. Big croc, Thai tourists start getting eaten, and people set out to stop it before more people get eaten. End of story.

There’s this guy named Jack McQuade (who looks way too young for the part) running an animal park tourist attraction in Thailand that attracts more creditors than customers and even some nefarious individuals determined to run him off by hook or by crook. I was never quite sure if they were shady underworld types who appeared to be even younger than McQuade or if they were just young rich pricks stooping to underworld tactics, but aside from being ultimately unnecessary to the plot, these prerequiste human villains for the sake of giving the movie some human villains come across more like a bunch of Thai frat boys plotting how to steal a keg of beer than criminal elements scheming to steal someone’s land.

A Thai animal welfare lady shows up to chastise McQuade for some minor infractions and you better believe romance eventually blossoms between the two. McQuade also has a young horndog nephew named Theo who is also constantly macking on the local Thai beauties.

Meanwhile, a really big crocodile has shown up and begun eating tourists and locals alike. Why has this big man-eating croc that’s been terrorizing peasant villagers upriver suddenly made its way south to terrorize tourist areas? Why global warming, of course. At least that was the best excuse they could hypothesize, not that they spend much time trying to hypothesize its reason for being there. However, it is quite obvious the screenwriter got his hands on a big book of crocodile facts given how often such random facts spew forth from the mouths of various characters.

Saboteurs released some of the crocs from McQuade’s tourist trap and authorities look to blame him when body parts wash ashore. Oh, if only there was a name actor who could help sell this film to international markets that they could cast in the bit part as a grizzled crocodile hunter who’ll prove McQuade’s crocs aren’t responsible and then join forces with him to help hunt down and kill the croc that actually is.

And that’s when Michael Madsen shows up to collect an easy paycheck. I’d dare call his an effortless performance in the sense that he does the absolute minimum required of him both verbally and physically. Mr. Blonde has his “I’m only here ’cause I need beer money” face on, which is fitting since his character constantly looks and sounds like he’s nursing a hangover. Method acting?

But who cares about plot and characters when what we’re all really here for is the killer crocodile and seeing it chomp people. Prepare for massive disappointment. Aside from infrequent use of a CGI crocodile and a prosthetic croc head that’s used even less, Croc‘s croc is pretty much a product of nature footage of a real-life crocodile. If you like close-up shots of a crocodile’s eye then you’ll be happy. It’s supposed to be a rather large crocodile but there’s almost never any sense of scale due to the stock footage being of an average crocodile; the illusion of its enormity only works when the prosthetic head or CGI is used. Outside of a highly improbable swimming pool death scene that comes complete with multiple continuity errors, most of the croc attacks are pretty par for the course, telegraphed well in advance to the point of negating any suspense, and many occur underwater in a manner obscuring the carnage. There’s just not a lot of fun to be had watching this croc attack.

You know a killer animal flick stinks when the climax has six characters heading off to kill the beast and when the dust settles all six are still alive and predominantly uninjured, despite two of them actually getting chomped and dragged off by the croc.

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    Film:

    1 1/2 out of 5

    Special Features:

    0 out of 5

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    7 GUARDIANS OF THE TOMB Review – Rest Easy, Indiana Jones, There’s Not Much To See Here

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    Starring Kellan Lutz, Bingbing Li, Kelsey Grammar

    Directed by Kimble Rendall


    If it only weren’t for those friggin’ spiders. Kimble Rendall’s adventurous flick, 7 Guardians Of The Tomb is one of those “wanted to be, yet couldn’t quite hit the mark” action-films that will probably entertain those looking for some cave-dwelling escapades caught on celluloid, but for the more picky aficionado of said slam-bang pics, this one might be viewed as a bit stagnant. Let’s strap on our mining helmets and pick around this one, shall we?

    Acting as a bit of a search-and-rescue formation, the movie tails alongside Dr. Jia Lee (Li) as she hunts down the whereabouts of her missing brother after losing contact with him while he was on expedition in Western China. Apparently he was looking for a secretive Emperor’s tomb that supposedly holds a potion that can reanimate, or re-invigorate…or rehabilitate – anyway you slice it, the juice has got some pretty potent powers. So a search team is assembled, led by Mason (Grammar – glad someone got Frasier off of the barstool), and he’s latched onto all-American fella Jack (Lutz) to assist this operation. As it turns out, the initial journey is cut off fairly quick when a violent electrical storm forces the group to head underground, and that’s when things get creepy and crawly…like 8-legged style. The film is ripe with some feverish action and a few decent performances, but it’s the overall framework that acts as the big bully, tauntingly kicking sand in the little guy’s face at the beach.

    We’ve got love interests, a flurry of backstories, and oh my lord, those spiders! Yep, even the heartiest of CGI can effectively ruin a good case of the willies when it comes to arachnids and their powers of sucking humans and animals dry of their lifeforce. It’s an intently goofy movie, and even the dialogue seems a bit showy at times, leaving plausibility and intelligence at the entrance to the caves. Lutz is fun to watch as the burly rescuer, and he looks as the type who is just waiting for his cinematic moment to step into the spotlight. What pains me is that this movie really could have been something much bigger, and apparently it looks as if the majority of the film’s budget was wasted on those hokey-looking computerized spiders.

    All in all, 7 Guardians Of The Tomb is spotty entertainment, even if you despise those little skittering aphids racing towards you, programmed or not. Give it a peek if Raiders Of The Lost Ark isn’t readily available at your disposal…even that crappy Crystal Skull one.

    • Film
    2.5

    Summary

    A film that could have been so much more adventure-wise instead comes off looking like a lesson in how not to waste too much time on computer imagery.

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    Who Goes There Podcast: Ep 160 – A QUIET PLACE

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    Lately, it seems as though comedy actors are cutting their teeth as horror directors and absolutely killing it! This year’s indie horror darling comes in the form of John Krasinki’s A Quiet Place. Chris has been sick as a dog, so the haomie Christine from Horrible Imaginings Film Fest is filling in to discuss whether A Quiet Place is 2018’s horror heavyweight, or just a lot of noise.

    What Bruno took was what changed me; it only amplifies your essence. It simply makes you more of what you already are. It’s the Who Goes There Podcast episode 160!

    If you like what you hear, please consider joining our Patreon subscribers. For less than the cost of a beer, you get bonus content, exclusive merchandise, special giveaways, and you get to help us continue doing what we love.

    The Who Goes There Podcast is available to subscribe to on iTunes right here. Not an iTunes user? You can listen on our Dread Central page. Can’t get enough? We also do that social media shit. You’ll find us on FacebookTwitterInstagramTwitch, and YouTube.

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    THE DEVIL AND FATHER AMORTH Review: Friedkin Goes Mondo Catholic

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    Starring Father Gabriele Amorth

    Directed by William Friedkin


    Hitting theaters this weekend in NYC and LA is William Friedkin’s new documentary, The Devil and Father Amorth. And right away I am asked: “Is it ‘good’?” You don’t watch a documentary like this with that in mind. Faces of Death, Traces of Death, Mondo Cane. They are not here to be “good”—they are beyond words like that. Beyond good and bad.

    It is more like the sideshow—Behold! See what has not been seen before! The Horror! The Forbidden! And you hand the man your ticket — you see The Arabian Giantess at the flea market in New Jersey, and maybe it is a sleight of hand and made of papier-mâché, but it was worth that dollar, and now you have a story. You have bought your way into the unknown.

    The Devil and Father Amorth is light on science (and length – it runs just 68 minutes) and heavy on faith. If you have been exposed to Friedkin’s — or more specifically, William Peter Blatty’s — work, there is the struggle with belief in the Roman Catholic faith, and also in the search for evidence of the miracle. You could also prove the Force of Divine Good if you could face the opposite side of the coin—the Force of Evil, in the vernacular of Catholicism—the Devil himself. Paradoxical, yes—faith exists without proof; and so what is the drive to tell the world God exists, the Devil exists?

    In the documentary we learn Rome is filled with the possessed. Hundreds of people are contacting the Church about their own possession or the possession of their loved ones. The Most Holy Father Amorth is the person the Vatican has tapped to perform exorcisms—thousands of them. And sometimes he has repeat business. Christina is one such woman, exorcised nine times and still susceptible to the Force of Evil. Those of us who are non-believers look at this woman as someone who is troubled—but “through the eyes of faith,” obviously it is a demon.

    Surrounded by her family, the rite begins, and you see… an actual exorcism. There is no enhancement, no Dick Smith make-up; it is not as dramatic as we want it to be. Should we get her help that is not in the form of a witch doctor? What about doctors? And so we meet them.

    Friedkin brings the footage to top hospitals in NYC. Psychologists give their point of view. Then neurosurgeons. They don’t know what’s going on—the exorcism seems to help, but they do see that it might be a cultural remnant. There is a medical diagnosis for it, as it can affect anyone of any faith. But the doc never digs too deep. I am disappointed: I needed to know more. I don’t believe it.

    Are they hurting Christina? Is she just another female the Church is suppressing, as they did with witches—the control, the stigma, of the female body and identity? None of this is explored because it’s just a 1-dollar ticket under the striped tent, just left of the dancing girls and the strong man—Actual! Exorcist! Footage! Hurry up and see!

    As Friedkin mentioned himself, when someone asks you to film an exorcism, you say yes. So see it for the freak show. Expect nothing else. And either you believe or you don’t, based on how you were raised — mythology, religion, or superstition.

    • The Devil and Father Amorth
    2.0

    Summary

    See it for the freak show. Expect nothing else.

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