Monday, July 6, 2009

ROGUE (2007)

WHAT THE MONSTER TAUGHT ME: I can now unequivocally add the following unholy but all-too-real creatures to my “Do Not Want List”: fire ants, snapping turtles, salt-water crocodiles, and Sarah Palin.


The Alabama of Australia, the curious absence of Outback Jack, put another Fatty on the barbie, the Aussie Mike the Dog, Sam Worthless-ington, the Universal Studios Tram of Death, Gulpy the Hungry Hungry Killer Croc, and where’s Steve Irwin when you need him? Oh yeah…

More details here.


Travel blogger (that’s what they like to be called, right?) Pete (Michael Vartan) is on his newest assignment which lands him in the Northern Australian Territory to take a river tour along with a bunch of annoying tourist archetypes. You got the annoying yuppie couple, the sheepish British family, the grieving widower, the irritating fat guy, the loud fat lady, and the sexy boat captain Kate (Radha Mitchell). The river they are about to take a cruise down is known for its abundance of crocodiles and the group hopes to catch a glimpse of the elusive giant salt-water crocs, the last remnants of the age of dinosaurs. They are also some pretty mean sum bitches. The group experiences a beautiful day out on the river, enjoys the lovely canyon scenery and big ass flies, and occasionally sees a croc pop out and say, “Hi, I’d like to eat you”. Their day is briefly interrupted by Kate’s ex-boyfriend Neil (Sam Worthington) who harasses her about getting back together. She’s able to shoo him away, but something tells me we haven’t seen the last of him. At the end of the tour, the group sees a distress flare from an area that is well-known for crocodile attacks and dangerous natives. Kate decides to follow the flare, a decision that divides the group and catches the attention of a pair of gigantic and very hungry eyes prying from the depths of the river. And it ain’t Louie Anderson. A hugh-gantic salt-water crocodile attacks the boat and beaches it on a tiny island, stranding the group now fully gripped with terror. From here on out, it’s a battle between man and a creature with a killer instinct honed by 200 million years of predatory instinct. Kind of like my wedding day.


The killer crocodile sub-genre experienced somewhat of a boon the last few years with the release of such titles as Primeval and Croc. I’m not sure what started this string of monster crocs, whether it was due to the untimely passing of Steve Irwin or just the croc’s turn to be crowned the next king of movie monsters. Regardless, compared to those two offerings, Rogue is a masterpiece of croc cinema. That’s not to say Rogue was bad – it’s definitely not. Built on solid characterizations, an eerie atmosphere and a palpable sense of primordial terror, the movie is a fulfilling and deftly produced piece of killer animal mayhem. Directed by promising Aussie Greg Mclean whose slasher/torture flick Wolf Creek was well-received, the film didn’t get a whole lot of attention during its initial release. And that’s unfortunate, because it’s really a solid work of bloody entertainment with stunning cinematography, good performances (Wolf Creek’s chilling psycho-bloke John Jarratt returns as a nerdy husband), and a gorgeously hideous monster designed by the geniuses at Weta Workshop. However, what did lack is what most good monster movies possess: a new subtext other than the obvious (man should not fuck with nature) and an insight into what makes this all-too-real monster tick. Sure, it’s giant croc that likes to eat, and sure horror movies don’t make the best biology lessons, but just a little info wouldn’t have hurt. At times it looks like chunks of narrative might have been cut out, mostly likely character stuff to explain the rift between Kate and Neil and exposition on how Pete got assigned this detail to flesh out the bitterness expressed throughout the picture. Just my guess. A solid monster movie we need to see more like, Rogue takes its time building empathy for the characters, creating tension in the unforgiving wilderness, and delivering a smackdown of a finale that will leave lesser horror fans gasping for air.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...