A giant crocodile comes north to Thailand and starts to eat people thanks to global warming. It’s up to the owner of a theme park, his sister and nephew, their manager, a former government official and a crocodile hunter named Croc to stop it.
Croc is part of RHI Entertainment’s Maneater film series. With titles such as Blood Monkey (uber-intelligent killer monkeys with F. Murray Abraham), In the Spiders Web (deadly spiders with Lance Henriksen), and Maneater (a killer tiger with Gary Busey) you know what you’re getting. With Croc, you get – you guessed it – a killer crocodile, this time with Michael Madsen.
The film opens with two fishermen in Thailand. They pull a Homer Simpson and throw a stick of dynamite into the water to kill as many fish as possible. Unfortunately for them, they disturb a giant crocodile that jumps in the water, moves at the speed of light, leaps out of the water ripping their boat in half and then eats both of the fishermen. With that scene, you know what this movie is about – a giant crocodile eating people.
Unfortunately, there is a subplot that goes nowhere and serves no other purpose than to add human villains to the film. The hero of the film is Jack McQuade (Peter Tuinstra). He owns an animal park where he charges tourists a fee to walk around his zoo and watch elephants play basketball and soccer. His main attraction is his crocodile collection. A representative of the animal welfare division pays him a visit and gives him a list of infractions that he must fix or be shut down. This is a plan of a nefarious land developer named Konsong, who wants Jack’s land to build a road.
One of the main problems of this film is the casting of the actors. The character playing Konsong (Tawon Saetang) is way too young to be the mafia type lord that he appears to be playing. He bears little resemblance to a man who would hold an entire city in his hands, as his character does in the movie. Tuinstra is also too young to be playing his character, but as one of the better actors in the picture, I can let that slide.
The only purpose of Konsong is to give Jack troubles and complicate his life as the crocodile notches more kills. His brother even goes as far as to let some of Jack’s crocodiles loose to make it look like Jack is the one responsible. This is quickly resolved and the only thing left is for the bad guys to get theirs, which they do, in a very nice blood and gore scene that makes little sense. The brothers are killed by the giant crocodile in their own swimming pool, the only explanation being the crocodile has a heightened sense of smell and will travel long distances to get food. Why it chose to go after the bad guys instead of all the other people on the island is never explained. It is a plot device used by the screenwriter to accomplish this task.
This is where the main problem with the movie lies. Much of what happens in the script is contrived and very transparent. It’s as if the screenwriter did all his research into his beast and then decided to add all that he learned into the script. At one point, the heroes go to visit the Andamanese, the boat people who the script tells us knew about the Tsunami and survived because they knew the signs. The reason they go there is to find out if these people know where the crocodile is. They don’t. The trip was a waste of time and accomplished nothing in the film. It was there to show how much the writer knows about the area. Research shows the beast is a Crocodylus porosus, the largest living reptile and usually lives in northern Australia. Why did the giant crocodile travel so far north? “It’s global warming,” says one character, the only mention of global warming the entire movie. Ugh.
What about this crocodile? There are two basic ways they show the beast. The first is CGI. Usually, you start with stock footage, looking nothing like the rest of the film. Then we move to exciting shots of the crocodile’s eye opening and closing. All the underwater shots are usually CGI and with the small budget, they usually look CGI. The gore is well done, especially in the swimming pool scene mentioned above. Much of the movie rips off Jaws, including a scene with two kids making out in the water. The underwater shots are very Spielbergian and the fact that the crocodile grabs the victim and races full speed through the water with them in tow is a little too similar to Jaws to be a simple homage.
Michael Madsen is top billed but does not show up until 45 minutes into the movie and doesn’t speak until over an hour into the movie. This gives him about 15 minutes of screen time and he sleepwalks his way through the movie. He plays a character named Croc Hawkins who has been hunting this crocodile for years and keeps a batch of pictures on his boat of all the victims that the crocodile claimed. For a better description of him, picture Quint from Jaws, except with better people skills.
Unfortunately, the end is where the movie fails in the worst possible way. The crocodile is way to easy to kill. Hawkins tells everyone that they should not underestimate the beast but then they just shoot it and that is it. There is a moment of terror right after they kill it, but they take the easy way out. Six people go in to kill the crocodile and all six come out alive. Two of those people find themselves in the jaws of the monster and end up with nothing more than flesh wounds. It’s ridiculous and embarrassing. The movie had a lot of promise, and despite the fake CGI, could have been decent but failed at the most important moment.
There were a few scenes that worked, on a macabre level. At one point, some little kids are swimming in the water. They were told by enforcement officials to get back on their boat, and one of the little brats refused. His drunk dad simply stated, “let the croc eat him.” It did and I cheered. That was one of the best horror kill moments I have seen in a long time. It was just perfect. The swimming pool scene was another good one, although improbable. The bad points unfortunately overpowered the good moments and this is a movie that failed on most levels.
The DVD cover has a chick in the water and you see her through the mouth of the croc. The disc itself shows the same picture, except the girl is gone and only blood remains. That’s pretty cool. The video is decent, even with all the stock footage of crocodiles strung throughout. The sound is also good although the music overpowers at times. There are previews that play when you put the DVD in, but the only menu options are Play and Scene Selection.