The Flood (2023) Review
The Flood opens with Sommer (Devanny Pinn, Frost, Bus Party To Hell) and Clarence (John Garrett Mahlmeister, Battle for Saipan, The Greatest Beer Run Ever) taking refuge from Hurricane Clarence in an empty building. That might protect them from the rain, but as they find out, the weather isn’t the worst thing about the storm.
The storm also causes a bus transferring a group of dangerous criminals, Big Jim (Eoin O’Brien, Kate, English Dogs in Bangkok), Floyd (Mike Ferguson, Operation Black Ops, The Devil’s Heist), Jox (Randall J. Bacon, Maneater, Fast Vengeance), Angelo (Bear Williams, Tremors: Shrieker Island, Sheroes) and Russel Cody (Casper Van Dien, Daughter, The 2nd) to take refuge for the night in a decrepit small town jail run by Sheriff Jo Newman (Nicky Whelan, The Best Man, Trauma Center).
Now if the first paragraph sounds a bit like Crawl and the second one makes you think of the opening of Assault on Precinct 13 you’re not the only one. And I’m sure writers Chad Law (Section 8, The Getback) and Josh Ridgway (Miss Willoughby and the Haunted Bookshop, High Moon) were well aware of them as well. Interestingly enough, director Brandon Slagle (Breakout, Dead Sea) has touched on this topic before, his film Attack of the Unknown had a police team transporting a prisoner taking refuge from an alien invasion in a rundown police station.
Remember I mentioned Assault on Precinct 13? Well just to keep the similarities between it and The Flood going it isn’t long before the station comes under assault from humans as well as gators. A heavily armed group led by Eva (Kim DeLonghi, Marlowe, Castle Falls) and Rafe (Louis Mandylor, Doom: Annihilation, Bring Him Back Dead) have come looking for Cody. Throw in some conflict between Neo-Nazi Floyd and African American Jox and you have a situation so volatile you expect them to start feeding each other to the gators.
As for The Flood’s gators, they’re CGI and unfortunately not very convincing. Even worse they seem to change size from scene to scene and even within scenes as the camera moves. Much of the time they look to be on the large side of normal, something you might see on the news after it moved into a golf course’s water hazard. Then suddenly it looks like some huge mutation, like the fifty footer that terrorized New York in Alligator.
Needless to say, that takes a toll on The Flood’s effectiveness. And while much of the carnage is obscured by water or represented by blood splatters on the camera, the incredibly fake looking head we see floating around and a CGI rendered chewed up face doesn’t help either.
It’s too bad the filmmakers didn’t invest more in The Flood’s effects because while its plot is ridiculous, it’s also a lot of fun and manages some genuine suspense and jumps. And the scenes of the gators swimming underwater and stalking their prey would have added considerably to that if they didn’t look so bad.
There’s still a lot to like about The Flood even if you can’t get past the dodgy effects. The human on human issues provide plenty of suspense and a fair amount of action as the characters sort out their differences. That said, having Nicky Whelan put a beatdown on Bear Williams and Mike Ferguson back to back strains credibility more than the gator who knew how to work a door handle.
Overall, The Flood is enjoyable popcorn fare and anyone who sat through last year’s plethora of CGI shark films should be able to get past the gators on display here. It’s too bad though, with better effects this could have been a real standout.