Friday, July 26, 2013

30 Days of Nightmares #11: ROGUE (2011)

The Story: JAWS in Australia, with crocodiles.

Expectations: The reason it's taken me so long to see this film is because of the Dimension Extreme poster (pictured above).The lack of subtlety in this poster made me expect a very un-subtle movie with bad CGI and tongue-in-cheek humor, something more along the lines of ANACONDA or PIRANHA (the remake) than JAWS.This is director Greg McLean's followup to WOLF CREEK, the film that earned him membership in Hollywood's "splat pack," so I also expected plenty of gore.

Reaction: I am pleasantly surprised to say that this is a very well-crafted, genuinely scary film.Not terribly original, mind you, but it does everything a good horror movie should do.The filmmaker takes the time to establish a realistic setting, with exotic footage worthy of a nature documentary, and sets up the characters as more than bait.There are cliches aplenty (the lead is a slightly obnoxious young American tourist instantly at odds with a backwoods culture) but there are also quite a few beautifully subtle moments, like the guy in the back of the boat discreetly saying goodbye to a loved one... before the killer croc even rears its head for the first time.The film builds slowly, and brilliantly, in the second act by keeping the monster in the shadows and relying on the familiar POV angles from CREATURE FROM THE BLACK LAGOON and JAWS.Then it pays off the suspense big time in an intense -- and only mildly ludicrous -- final act.Oh yes, there's blood.Plenty of blood.But the storytelling is serious, the CGI is well-hidden in darkness, and the movie as a whole captivated me from beginning to end.

So... for the reader who requested a review of this film during the last "30 Days of Nightmares" marathon: Joe Bob says check it out.

Most Nightmare-Worthy Moment: I think the scene that will stick with me the most is an early scene where the survivors have to climb across a rope suspended above croc-infested waters.The scenario is obviously intense because of the lurking monsters, but the hostility between the characters makes the sequence almost unbearable.
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