Friday, October 22, 2010

Animals Run Amok!: Rogue (2008)

Thank you to those who recommended Rogue to me on my top Animals Run Amok list! If I could marry a movie right now, I think the lucky dude would have to be Rogue. Okay maybe it's not that great, but I tell you, it was pretty fucking awesome. I love surprises and this movie certainly was one.

Croco-licious plot: Michael Vartan is an American travel writer who takes a crocodile river tour in Australia's Northern Territory. When the tourist boat, helmed by Radha Mitchell as Kate, follows a distress flare further down the river, the boat is attacked and damaged by a vicious crocodile. Stranded on a tiny island with the tide coming in, the group must find a way to get to safety, while the croc has tagged them for food.

Animas Run Amok movies are indeed the greatest thing in the world, but the best ones I think are those with water animals. It's a whole other world beneath the surface and the water is their territory, not ours. You never know where they are or where they'll appear, which is where the true scare comes from. Although I gotta say, crocodiles are land animals, too. I'm surprised that they only thought they were in danger by going into the water, and that the croc only attacked them on the island once. But I guess if he had rushed the land then they would have all been killed fairly soon.

Speaking of the water, the setting is so gorgeous. This movie comes from the creator of another Australian horror flick, Wolf Creek, and he certainly knows how to film the outback in amazing ways. The beauty of the place is only marred by its isolation and vastness, which makes it a not so ideal place for our group to be stranded in. The cinematography is practically another character in the movie and is not like anything I've seen outside a Tomb Raider game.

The first part of the movie is the languid journey on the river where we get to view that wonderful scenery and meet the characters. There's a good group of different types of people here who are mostly likable enough that you don't want them to get eaten. Their freak outs are real and you can tell that most of those scenes were sort of improvised. It's funny when Katie and Peter are trying to come up with a plan and you can just hear someone in the background yelling, "Shut the fuck up, Simon!"

Hiding the beast from view is what usually goes on in these types of movies, but it works so well to this film's advantage. There's a great bit where one of the guys is standing near the water's edge. There's a splash, and when the group turns around, he's disappeared, and you only see the croc's tail as he slowly swims away. At first I thought I missed something, which was probably just the filmmakers' intention.

The beast only comes into full view at the climax in his lair, or burrow or whatever it is. The CGI is practically flawless, even better than my other favorite killer croc from Primeval. There's actually a good blend of both CG and mechanical effects, and I could hardly tell the difference. Rogue not only surprised me in how good and effective it is but also in its quality filmmaking - something I frankly didn't expect from such a relatively small movie.

There is wicked suspense all around in Rogue with some amazing jump moments that scared the piss out of me so many times. When the croc rams the tour boat, I literally jumped so hard that I lost my breath for a second. Absolutely fantastic. As the group tries to shimmy across the rope to cross the water, you're on the edge of your seat waiting for the crocodile to jump out of the water, but nope. A low growl and he blazes out to attack Neil on the land on the other side. That was a nice turn, too. When Neil and his friend show up on the speedboat, I thought his character was going to be one of the survivors, but he's picked off rather quick.

And John Jarratt is in this! Did not even recognize him as the guy in the fishing hat and mustache. He plays this character of the sweet widower so much different than the psycho in Wolf Creek, but he is wonderful in both. He helped make Wolf Creek what it was, so I'm not surprised that writer and director Greg Mclean would want him in another of his films.

There is a bit of un-believability when Peter (Michael Vartan) enters the crocodile's feeding grounds. In such a small, tight space, I thought he could only hide behind the rocks for so long before the thrashing animal got him or Radha, what with her being practically unconscious and so vulnerable the whole time. But the croc's death scene makes up for it! I loved that shit, it was such a good way to end it. Too bad Kevin the dog wasn't fast enough to get away :(. At least they didn't use him for bait to go fishing for Mister Crocodile.

Haha, that reminds me. Stay for the credits to Rogue because there is a hilarious "Never Smile at a Crocodile" song playing over them, sung by a sweet female voice. Funny but kind of creepy at the same time!

Great killer croc flick, one of the best, if I should so presume.


  1. I was surprised how much I liked this movie. Especially after watching crap croc flicks like Bloodsurf and Lake Placid 2.
    Fair review, in total agreement

  2. Yeah, this movie is sooooo good. Really, really, ridiculously good.

  3. This film for me really redeemed Greg Mclean as a director, as I hated "Wolf Creek".
    I loved how similar in style this film is to Jaws, as your teased with shots of the croc, until the finale and it really helps to ramp up the tension.
    That death roll though is still absolutely chilling to watch, even after repeated viewings.

    Cool blog!

  4. Stoked that you liked this. This and Wolf Creek are near and dear to me, and Mclean is easily my favourite local genre director these days. In the wake of Creek, we're really developing a solid horror movie scene here now. I honestly think this is the best of the sub-genre since JAWS.

  5. yeah, one of the best croc-movies ever made!

    btw: have you ever seen 'Black Water'?

  6. @Dempsey - Yeah, Lake Placid 2 definitely left something to be desired! Not near as good as the first one.

    @Elwood - Aw, no love for Wolf Creek? I really enjoyed that one, especially the aforementioned John Jarratt.

    @Aylmer - Dude, I'M stoked that I liked this. Mclean is indeed a beautiful storyteller, can't wait to see more from him.

    @Maynard - Been hearing of Black Water since I started looking up more Animals Run Amok. The Netflix queue is ever-growing!! Watch one, add three more!

  7. Nah sadly not "Wolf Creek" left me cold, so kudos really to Mclean for winning me back with this one. Really want to track down a copy of "Dark Age" which is an Ozploitation giant croc movie, which seem nigh impossible to find here in the UK.
    Be intrested to see what you make of "Lake Placid 3"