‘Rogue’ Delivers Thrilling Giant Crocodile Horror Set in the Wilds of Australia

In the history of the cinema there really haven’t been that many good giant crocodile movies. In fact, there have probably only been two. The first of course was Alligator (1980), directed by Lewis Teague and written by John Sayles and Frank Perilli. The second would of course be 2007′s Rogue.

In director Greg Mclean’s thrilling creature feature ‘Rogue’, a river sightseeing tour becomes a white-knuckle fight for survival when a massive, territorial crocodile begins picking off passengers one by one. Set in Australia’s remote Northern Territory, this taut horror gem succeeds as both a pulse-pounding animal attack flick and a nuanced human drama.

The film wastes no time establishing dread as tourists embark on a scenic boat trip in a crocodile-infested wetland. When their vessel becomes stranded, the reptilian menace strikes with startling speed, devouring a passenger in a bloody, bone-crunching assault.

With the croc’s nest nearby, expert guide Kate (Radha Mitchell) shepherds the terrified group toward precarious safety, knowing the persistent predator will continue brazen attacks. Mclean expertly trades blood-soaked shocks for nerve-jangling suspense, with the croc an unseen, looming threat waiting to strike from the murky deep.

Beyond visceral thrills, ‘Rogue’ crafts fully-realized characters, from the resilient Kate to a grieving husband who lost his wife in the initial attack. Their nuanced interactions intensify the action, raising the emotional stakes. Mclean wrings maximum tension by pitting human will against the croc’s primal savagery.

Rogue is Director Greg Mcleans’ followup to his 2005 independent horror hit Wolf Creek. He doesn’t knock this one out of the park like he did with the previous film, but he does make a definite home-run. There were just a few moments in the film where it seemed to bog down. All in all, though, Mclean should be commended for an excellent story and excellent direction. The cast led by Radha Mitchell and also starring Wolf Creek alumnae John Jarratt as well as future Avatar and Alice in Wonderland stars Sam Worthington and Mia Wasikowska make for an excellent ensemble.

Anchored by Mitchell’s bold lead performance, ‘Rogue’ proves killer creature features can still offer brains, brawn and soul. It joins ‘Jaws’ as a genre high watermark by pairing pulse-pounding action with an acute understanding of both the human and animal condition.

Trivia

Rogue, like Wolf Creek before it, is based on a true story. In Australia in the 1970′s there was a giant crocodile that was attacking boats. It was even given a nickname.

“Sweetheart.”

Oh, by the way, Alligator wasn’t really a giant crocodile film. But who’s keeping score?