Rounding up our mini marathon of monster movies is this little Aussie movie from 2007. Want to see charisma vacuum Sam Worthington as Croc bait? Then look no further!
Gregg McLean followed up his own Wolf Creek with this low-key monster movie that sadly doesn’t quite do what it should do. Micheal Vartan plays an American travel writer sent to the Aussie outback, while out on a boat tour led by Rhada Mitchell they answer a distress flare but when they get to where the flare was let off there’s nothing waiting but a rather large Crocodile.
That’s the set up, and for about two thirds of the film I was totally into it, but when the last act unfolds I found my interest waining slightly. It isn’t that the last third is bad, it’s that it doesn’t live up to the excellent first two acts. Impressive is the way that McClean allows the film to just unfold, and I found myself interested in the first act despite the fact nothing really happens. Part of that is thanks to the stunning scenery on display, I’ve never seen Australia look so good. All too often it’s just the outback that we see (Hell even McClean does that with Wolf Creek, though that was integral to the plot), but for once we get to see an area of natural beauty that’s enough to make you up and travel…well apart from the giant Crocodile bit.
I should applaud McClean for avoiding conventions in his film, there are more than a few moments that play out differently to how you would expect them, not least with who lives and dies. The problem though is that avoiding the conventions isn’t good enough if you have nothing interesting to replace them. The film tends to lead you one way but sharply pulls in the other direction, and you can’t help but feel a little deflated.
Those people who called Sam Worthington boring or lacking charisma won’t find much to change their mind here. But he does show a looser persona than he’s been allowed to show in his American films so far, even if his role is a very small one (At best he gets about a page of lines in). Michael Vartan reminds me of Bradley Cooper’s more serious older brother, though he’s always a reliable performer. Plus it’s good to see the sadistic killer from Wolf Creek get a much softer role here.
What is sad is that McClean seemingly hasn’t worked since. This film was made in 2007, and IMDB doesn’t seem to show any other films in development – a fact I find a tad depressing. McClean has a great eye and it would be a shame if we didn’t see more of the end result of that.
Here’s hoping we don’t have to wait long.
Up next: Our first foreign language film!