Croc! (2022) Review
Croc! is the latest in a long line of films about crocodiles and alligators seeking revenge on mankind for turning their relatives into shoes and handbags. I’ve often wondered why there’s not more of them, actually. Like sharks, these leftovers from the age of dinosaurs have large mouths full of sharp teeth and can be found all over the world. But unlike sharks, they can come out of the water after you, making them much more of a threat.
Lisa King (Sian Altman, Monster Portal, T h e m) is getting married and her father Dylan (Mark Haldor, Kingdom of the Dinosaurs, Reign of Chaos) has bagged her a wonderful location for it. He also bagged himself the hostess while he was touring it, but that’s another matter. Right now, she’s dealing with a lack of cell reception and stories of missing locals, which are scaring the bridesmaids. Also, unbeknown to her, her husband-to-be Charlie (George Nettleton, Looks Can Kill, Blood Myth) is making one of them, Georgie (Beatrice Fletcher, Shockwaves, Curse of Bloody Mary) scream for an entirely different reason.
Writer/director Paul W. Franklin (The Impact, Beneath the Surface) seems to be quite familiar with the killer Crocodilia genre. Croc! Takes the idea of one of the scaly critters in the English countryside from The Hatching, adds the bloody disruption of a wedding from an Alligator, and a bit of Crawl as it hunts people through a house. It’s a bit of poaching Roger Corman would be proud of.
He also doesn’t make us wait to see the creature, Croc! Gives us not one, but two attacks in the first half hour. In fact, the first act delivers the drive-in of trinity, boobs, blood and beasts, which may be a first for one of producer Scott Jeffrey’s (Van Helsing, Monsters of War) films. Unfortunately, Croc! also gives us the usual lapses in logic needed to hold the plot together. The cell service worked fine when Dylan was touring the facility, but conveniently isn’t now. Dylan, apart from being a lady’s man, he looks a bit like Jason Momoa if you’ve had a few to drink, is also a game warden and happens to know all about crocodiles.
Most ridiculously of all, after his rendezvous with Georgie comes to a bloody end, Charlie tells nobody besides his best man Ben (Stephen Staley, Dinosaur Hotel, Curse of Jack Frost) and tells him not to tell anyone but to watch for the creature. There’s a giant creature with a fondness for human flesh loose on the grounds, but let’s act as if nothing’s wrong. Surely he could have come up with a convincing lie, he seems like the type who’s had plenty of practice at it.
But if you can get past this, there’s actually quite a lot to like about Croc! For starters, there are far fewer long talky segments than in many of these films. And the dialogue is frequently amusing, whether intentionally or otherwise. “You’ve been making eyes at me all night. Is there something on my face?” “There can be if you want” or a debate between Charlie and Reverend Jackson (Chris Cordell, Winnie-the-Pooh: Blood and Honey, The Curse of Humpty Dumpty) using the creature as a metaphor for the presence of evil in the world.
The effects are also better than I was expecting. The CGI is still far from the top of the line, but most of the shots of the creatures, apparently there are two of them, are acceptable. More complicated scenes, like them munching on people, are still lacking, however. There’s also a bit of practical gore as well, nothing elaborate, but it’s there.
While it lacks the kaiju-sized thrills of Chinese films like Crocodile Island or the gore and outrageous plotting of Italian films such as Great Alligator River and Killer Crocodile, Croc! Is an enjoyable bit of monster mayhem. It’s also good to see some of Jeffrey’s films, which are frequently exploitation adjacent, start to deliver content that matches their plotting. Let’s hope the trend carries over to the inevitable sequel.
Uncork’d Entertainment will release Croc! On DVD and Digital platforms on September 4th. You can check their Facebook page for more information. And you can check FilmTagger for suggestions of similar films to watch.