Saturday, January 12, 2019

Croc (2007) & Crocodile (2000)


never happens in movie
also never happens in movie
Well, it's January and time for everyone's favorite New Year tradition: The Killer Crocodile Double Feature. (Okay, that's not really a tradition, even here in the deadmans household.)

What actually happened was more where mrs. deadmans falls asleep on the couch while I watch something she'd rather not experience in a fully conscious state, which I totally understand. (There are times I wish I was the one sleeping on the couch next to me.)

Okay, that was weird. I went all unbidden-existential on myself for a second and saw movie-watching-me on my couch, taking in a crappy movie, with sleeping-me curled up right there next to myself. Snoring a little. Huh. At least sleeping-me wasn't laying his head on movie-watching-me's lap. That would've been too weird.

Anyway, existentials aside, neither of the movies I real-life-watched were overly painful (the missus totally could've stayed awake!), and the second one was even a fair bit of fun. Also, the two films didn't start out as a crocodilian couple: they just happened to be next to each other on my watchlist, and one night I decided to give the first one a shot. Well, it turned out to be so unsatisfying (un-sauri-fying, you might say), I had no choice but to give myself a redo with the second movie the next night. At which point my crocodilian-film-faith was restored. (Whew. Close call.)

At any rate that's the setup, and here's a mini multi movies write-up on both films....

It's Hunting Season and You're the Prey

So the first movie was a 2007 made-for-TV deal called Croc. The first bit of opening credits actually had me wondering if I'd be watching a full-on-Thai-subtitled-in-English film, which would've rocked: I've got a big and mushy spot in my heart for all things Thai. Wasn't to be, though. The movie's actually an English-language American production that was produced and filmed in Thailand.

As a matter of fact, I later found out this movie is part of that Maneater Series SyFy did back in the day. (Anyone besides me remember that series?) I caught at least a half dozen Maneater films, there in the mid-to-late aughts. Well: Strip my gears and call me shiftless, turns out the series never died and is now up to 27 movies, the last one just a few years old. (Where the heck have I been?)

Anyway, this particular movie's about a twenty foot saltwater crocodile terrorizing a (Thailand) tourist beach town. Here's the blurb from Amazon Video:
When a mysterious beast begins dismembering locals at a Thailand beach resort, Croc Hawkins sets out to capture the monster - and the $5,000 reward. But as the body count rises, Croc suspects he is dealing with a more powerful force than he ever imagined.
Would your boat do this if it was headbutted by a giant crocodile?
I'm not sure it would....
Yeah.... That's not accurate and actually sounds better than what I watched. This movie was a bit of a plodder --- even the creature scenes couldn't quite lift it out of the humdrums for me. Heck, not even having the Honorable Michael Madsen onboard was enough to get to minimum fun factor, and Madsen always brightens up the projects he's part of. Couldn't quite do it here though, bless 'im.

So why exactly did it suck?

Hmm... the effects were pretty bad. This was one of those ultra-cheap practical effect/ultra-cheap CGI mixes. Which is better than going all ultra-cheap CGI. (Generally speaking, cheap practical ends up looking way better than cheap CGI.) But you know, the second film I watched also mixed cheap practical and CGI, and it was way more enjoyable, so that can't be all that's holding this one back....


Okay, I think it came down to this: this movie didn't quite know what it wanted to be --- it couldn't commit. I mean it was definitely marketed as creature feature, but the film was really a mishmash of drama, romance, action thriller and family film, with an unconvincing bit of creature horror thrown in. Yeah, the more I think about it that's exactly what happened --- too many things going on in it to be able to do any one (or two) of them well.

Too bad. I will say I got the sense most everyone in front and behind the camera was putting out best effort, which means the movie at least comes away having a bit of heart once all's said and done. But even with the heart, I could only find it in my heart to give this film:


And that, is all I have to say about it.

Ever feel like something is watching you...?

Now then, the second film (Tobe Hooper's 2000 straight-to-video Crocodile) was pretty much everything that first movie wasn't. This one knew exactly what it was going for --- teen-stereotype-creature-horror --- implemented with tongue firmly in cheek. I mean its characters were so achingly one dimensional it was ludicrous, but since everyone involved seemed to know that and be going about it on purpose, it comes off as self-aware and the stereotypes are fun rather than demeaning.

Here's the Prime blurb for it:
A group of friends goes out on a boat trip on a lake in Southern California - but their joyful weekend turns into horror when a giant killer crocodile, searching for its stolen eggs, picks off anyone who gets in its way. Can they all escape in one piece or will they slowly and painfully fall to the mammoth reptile?
"Can they all escape..."? Do we even need to ask that question? (No. We do not.)

So yeah, this thing was actually a lot of fun. It starred no one who went on to do much else, according to IMDB, but everybody did what they needed to here in guilty-pleasure-inducing ways. And it pulls off the horror/comedy bit just about perfectly. I'll bet I could name all the horror comedies I actually enjoy watching on one hand, and believe it or not this movie just became one of 'em.

I am SO dead! Except for my right hand, which is alive and tightly gripping
this plastic crocodile mouth so I don't slip out onto the floor....
Wait, one hand...?

Let's see: An American Werewolf in London, Shaun of the Dead, Young Frankenstein, Dale and Tucker vs. Evil, Invasion of the Saucer-Men, The Rocky Horror Picture Show, Lake Placid, Eight Legged Freaks.... Huh. Okay, maybe two hands. Possibly three.

Damn it, now I've negated the whole "on one hand" thing I had going back there, and I might not even hate horror comedy the way I've always thought I did. (Sigh.)

I don't know. Maybe I just hate horror comedy that isn't well done. Yeah, that could be it. It is a genre that's tough to get right, don't you think? Anyway. I digress.

Getting back to Crocodile, I'm thinking to myself that even though I compared the two, the creature effects in this one didn't suck nearly as much as that first film's did. Here they (wisely) kept to the practical side of things, leaving CGI to the few bits they couldn't think of another way to manage, which helped a ton on watchability. That first one had more crappy CGI than practical going on.

Okay, that's it I think. I'm done talking about this one as well.

Oh. The count?



Till next time.