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I've said it before in other reviews, but I'll say it again: I'm a huge sucker for killer animal flicks, and no matter how cheesy the premise may be, I'll usually give anything from the genre a chance. The problem with being a fan of this genre is that it doesn't take long before you realize that it's extremely difficult to make a memorable film about giant and / or killer animals; I think I could count the number of great "natural horror" films on one hand, and if I were to do so, I'd probably have a couple of fingers left over. This is not to say that there is no entertainment to be found in some of these lesser films, but when it comes to classics that you can watch over and over again, it's pretty slim pickings.
Review by Chad
Added: June 14, 2008
Now, with that out of the way, let me be the first to say that I was elated when not one, not two, but three new "killer crocodile" flicks were announced right around the same time a while back. Primeval was the first one I saw from this latest batch of releases, and unfortunately, that one was a piece of shit (to be polite about it). Nevertheless, I had high hopes for Rogue, and now that I've seen it, I can safely say that it's an entertaining film... but thanks to some horrific decisions on the part of the filmmakers, it's far from a great one.
Our storyline takes place in Australia (naturally), and there, we meet a young lady named Kate (Radha Mitchell), a tour guide who takes American tourists out on a boat to see the lovely scenery and the various critters that roam Australia - namely, the crocodiles. Today's trip has gone off without a hitch: the tourists have seen a couple of crocs, the weather has been beautiful (if not a little hot), and of course, the scenery was as gorgeous as ever. The problem arises when they decide to head back, as they soon notice flares being shot off into the air a couple of miles down river. Kate, being the good captain that she is, decides to investigate and see if she can be of any help, but once they arrive, she discovers that whoever shot off those flares is gone, leaving only a half-sunken boat behind to prove that they were there.
Soon, the group discovers what is going on here: there is a huge crocodile in these waters, and this particular croc isn't too happy about humans invading his territory as made abundantly clear when he sinks their boat. The group manages to swim to a nearby mud island, but this brings about another issue: this is a tidal river, and this particular island will be completely submerged once the tide rises. The only way off this tiny island: swim to the mainland... yes, swim through the water that houses a giant crocodile who is waiting to eat them. Oh, and just because God has a cruel sense of humor, there's only about a half an hour worth of daylight left. The group quickly realize that they're in a world of shit out here as the crocodile is waiting for the perfect opportunity to tear them to pieces, and with the help of journalist Pete McKell (Michael Vartan), Kate quickly tries to come up with a way to get everyone out of this alive.
It's going to be a bit tricky to describe the pieces of the film that I didn't care for, as each of the gripes that I had center around pieces of the storyline that would require huge spoilers to discuss. So, let's take this review one step at a time and see if we can keep things spoiler-free, shall we?
Alright, the first chunk of the film is the synopsis that I wrote up above, and when it comes to that part of the film, I had no complaints. Sure, I thought that the character introductions could have been sped up a little, but once the group gets on that island and we find out what sort of predicament they've gotten themselves into, I found myself thinking that the film had high potential. I wasn't disappointed: for the next half hour or so, we're treated to a tense film that delivers the scares time and time again, and I loved every minute of it. It's a movie about a killer crocodile that favors realism over flashy effects and atmospheric tension over cheap scares - what's not to love about this? Yes, I was sitting there thinking that this was going to be one of those rare perfect films, until... well, until a particular scene rolled around.
You see, right around this point in the film, one of the characters makes a decision that will affect not only the other characters in the film, but also the entertainment of those of us watching at home. It's almost as if the original filmmakers turned the film over to someone at the Sci-Fi Channel and told them to come up with their own way to finish the storyline, as you can literally see the film taking a turn for the worse in a single scene... hell, you could even narrow it down to a single line if you wanted to be picky about it. Again, I don't want to deliver any spoilers in this review, so let me just put it like this: the realism that I was gushing about in the last paragraph? It goes straight out the window in favor of clichéd plot points that you'll see coming well in advance. The atmospheric tension that leaves you on the edge of your seat? This disappears as well, with the time-tested cheap scares taking its place. Don't even get me started on that bullshit ending; look, I know you can't make a killer animal flick in which the animal "wins", and I realize that you have to have at least one survivor who will put an end to the animal in question until the inevitable sequel rolls around. I'm fine with this, but the ending that was delivered here just took it to another level and left me thoroughly disgusted.
Overall, Rogue is a disappointment on two fronts: first, I just didn't care too much for the overall package thanks to a horrible final act, and second, the greatness of the middle act proved that these filmmakers could have made something special. Perhaps the biggest disappointment of all comes when you realize that Greg Mclean was responsible for this film. The man showed that he could create a damned fine horror film when he released Wolf Creek a couple of years ago, but for the most part, his second release is the very definition of "sophomore slump." 6/10.
- added 06/20/2008, 09:04 PM
I like terror in the water type movies. I was let
down when I found it doesn't come out on DVD until
August. But when that time comes I'm definitely
getting it. Sounds good enough to pick up.
- added 08/13/2008, 02:17 AM
Most of my complaints are the same as yours. I
didn't really like the ending either. It went on
for too long and was phony. Other problems:
1. This is apparently unrated. When I see that
word I expect some nice gore. This was PG-13.
Still not too shabby though.
2. I called the
ending well in advance. Everything I said to my
girlfriend actually happened in the order that I
said. Very predictable.
3. Why in the hell
didn't that "frozen" girl die. Goddamn I
hated her. Unfortunately there are actually people
like that in this world. I've witnessed it.
Overall though, I really enjoyed it. The
part where the croc hits the boat actually scared
me. I had to watch it over and over, it left me
with goosebumps. I love these movies, so I tend to
be a bit easy on them as this type of film easily
impresses me. 8/10. Could have been a lot better,
but still good.
- added 06/13/2009, 11:28 PM