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Bad CGI Gator (2023) Review

Since The Asylum doesn’t have something to release at the moment, Full Moon Pictures has graciously stepped up and given us Bad CGI Gator. With a self-referential title designed to deflect criticism of its shortcomings, I really can’t say I was expecting much, and maybe because I had such low expectations, I was pleasantly surprised.

Somewhere in Georgia, a group of friends, Sam (Michael Bonini, Spring Break Nightmare, The Day the Wind Blew East), Hope (Maddie Lane, Midnight Scorpion, Love at the Lodge), Chad (Ben VanderMey, The Minute You Wake up Dead, The Paramedic Who Stalked Me), Sarah (Rebecca Stoughton, Everlast, Friends of Summer), Pearce (Cooper Drippe, Thoughts and Prayers, Shutter) and Paisley (Sarah Buchanan, The Softest Grave, The Waltz of the Monsters) are planning a Spring Break blowout.

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Those plans include tossing their school laptops into the lake for a video they hope will go viral. Instead, it somehow transforms a tiny alligator into a huge, hungry beast. And it’s not just huge, it’s somehow been granted the powers of bad CGI such as the ability to move without touching the ground, and constantly change size.

The first fifteen minutes or so of Bad CGI Gator are almost painful to sit through. Four of the six characters are social media obsessed, so much of it is shot from their cell phone’s point of view. And they’re assholes, so it’s like watching the worst of TikTok or Instagram. I know it’s so you’ll cheer when they die, but until they die, they’re annoying to the point it’s hard to put up with them. T.he other two, Sam and Hope, aren’t so bad but don’t do or say much and just seem to be there just for the other four to insult.

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Once the gator shows up, things thankfully do get better. The film gets inventive with the flaws of bad CGI, so the gator not only doesn’t appear to touch the ground, it can fly and hover. Similarly, it frequently changes its size, becoming house sized by the final scenes. Granted, the CGI isn’t particularly good, but it is better than in many equally cheap creature features. There is some practical gore mixed in with the CGI, though it would have been better, and funnier, if the gore was all practical and the gator being the film’s only CGI.

Director Danny Draven (Weedjies: Halloweed Night, Cryptz) and writer Zalman Band (A Bird in the Hand) play Bad CGI Gator’s kills for bloody laughs, due to the small cast, there aren’t many of them, but they are bloody and amusing. At one point one of them goes after the creature with a samurai sword only to end up having the gator flip his severed head into a basketball net. Ironically, the house is full of posters saying things like “I love one woman and several guns” and “Protected by the 2nd Amendment” but that katana is the deadliest thing in it.

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Bad CGI Gator runs just under an hour, which is something I don’t have a problem with in and of itself, as it lets the film play out before the central premise wears thin. And I’d rather see a low budget film run short, deliver what we want from it, and avoid endless dull scenes that are there only to let the film reach a certain length. What I do object to is when it ends up being a more expensive rental than a full length film.

But apart from that, if you can get through the first fifteen minutes, Bad CGI Gator is a quick and easy way to get a snack sized dose of beasts, blood, and breasts with a bit of humour mixed in for good measure.

Bad CGI Gator is available on Digital Platforms from Full Moon.

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