It's about...oh go on, have a guess...

Released in 2000, certified UK-15. Reviewed on 19 Mar 2003 by Craig Eastman
Crocodile image

If your answer was "fluffy kittens", you are extremely incorrect. Tobe Hooper was once a fairly respected dude, bringing us The Texas Chainsaw Massacre and Poltergeist amongst others (and doesn't the cover want you to know it). Since those heady days he's kinda slipped below the radar, emerging every now and again to bring you something like this, a movie rather unsurprisingly about a really big crocodile eating lots of teenagers.

As much as you may be interested, the plot is something like this; some holidaying teenagers head for a lakeland holiday out in the middle of wherever, renting out a lovely little houseboat. Enjoying campfire shenanigans, one member of the group recounts the story of a huge crocodile that once terrorised the people of these parts. One evening it supposedly attacked an old hotel, eating everyone before apparently dying when the abode was burnt to the ground. Now the sinister burnt out shell sits solemnly at the lakeside, looking very creepy indeed, but is the most infamous reptilian resident really dead? Ooooh, I wonder.

Yes, it's not long before the gang happen across a nest of eggs, none of them intelligent enough to realise that given the size they must surely belong to something really quite big. One of the cheeky monkeys hides an egg in the rucksack of one of his female companions, and so the group are mercilessly pursued by the mother of all reptiles. It's all immensely predictable stuff, really, and if you don't generally like this kind of thing then Crocodile will do little to sway your opinion.

Crocodile image

If, however, you do rather enjoy an evening in with stupendously silly material of this ilk, then this proves to be a much better example of the genre than you have any right to expect. While Crocodile suffers from being so utterly generic it's almost inexcusable, it also has a couple of aces up it's sleeves. Firstly, everyone involved is aware that this is not going to make anyone's career, and so the entire cast play it for what it is; a monumental laugh. Unbelievably, none of the teens prove to be so annoying that you're begging for their demise. Rather, they are an amiable lot who paint a believable group of friends, and consequently some of the dialogue is a great laugh. There are plenty of put-downs and lots of unnecessary expletives, which is always a good thing, and although it may not be half as sarcastically glorious as Lake Placid it does manage to be infinitely better than most of it's peers.

Secondly in it's favour, Crocodile is witness to some highly reasonable CG. It ain't Jurassic Park, but this is definitely better than most other straight-to-video monster flicks you'll see, and it would appear Hooper has called in some favours down at the effects house. Unfortunately the close-up shots are extremely cheesy, but this only serves to lend the movie that air of comic cheapness that only adds to the charm.

Crocodile image

Of course, the genre staples remain intact. There's some cack-handed attempts at a love triangle, the "creepy old man who knows everything about crocodiles and has a personal vendetta with the beast" (Robert Shaw has so much to answer for), and when faced with the advancing monster the girls tend to stand slightly crouched, screaming and waving their arms in the air whilst making no attempt to escape. There's also the heroic moment where one of the group grabs an axe and shouts "I got this f***ing dinosaur!", before the croc quickly turns the tables and most decidedly gets "this f***ing light snack" instead.

Suffice to say Crocodile breaks no new ground in terms of plot, acting, scripting or direction, but it does prove to be a lot more fun than one might expect. It has blood, surprises and clich?s in equal measure, and for a couple of quid rental fee, you can hardly ask for a lot more.

Craig Disko awards Crocodile 3 out of 5 low budget baguettes.

Tobe Hooper
Cast list:
Mark McLachlan (Brady Turner)
Caitlin Martin (Claire)
Chris Solari (Duncan McKay)