Ladies and Gentlemen, we have a winner! In continuing the ‘man-eating crocodilian Movies of 2007’ marathon, I checked out this little known but harrowing Aussie survival story. And it easily succeeds where the previous two flicks reviewed fail. The story is relatively simple: 3 family members, on a roadtrip, head out into a mangrove estuary on a backwater fishing tour, only to encounter…you guessed it…a big friggin crocodile. After the initial attack, the survivors are left hiding in the mangrove branches, trying desperately to figure a way out. Where the other two flicks made a point of hyping the drama when the croc was in da hood, this one is creepy and ominous in the execution of the ‘we know it’s here…but where?’ concept. The use of small, ‘possibly innocent…possibly not’ sound effects and visuals was spot on. In many respects, it reminded me of another Australian scare ‘gem’, The Reef (2010) that I recently reviewed. What the hell is with THAT country and this effective suspense shit about THE SCARIEST ANIMALS IN THE WORLD?!! Jerks. This one had me tense for a good chunk of its run time, I don’t mind admitting. I need to mention the croc. In ‘Rogue’ and ‘Primeval’, the CG crocs where given ‘personality’ through the brutish methods of attack. Not this one. This Non-CG animal is given dimension in how it waits and how it announces itself. Where the other crocs, in the other croc flicks, were basically rampaging eating-machines…this one is a sneaky asshole. The first time it fully presents itself, it’s definitely a “Woah!” moment. It helps that, like ‘The Reef’, the use of obvious CG is minimal. I would swear that the actors are there…in the murky water…with a hungry, determined and eerily patient beast. There’s some nice character development as the ‘ordinary people’ have to deal with the physical and, more importantly, the mental rigors of the situation. There are also some inventive ‘creepy scenes’ (*crunch, crunch*) that nicely push the psychological limit for the survivors. The end does stray into ‘Hollywood’ territory but nicely ropes it back for a decidely un-‘Hollywood’ ending. Overall…a very satisfying suspense flick that does deserve to be seen. So see it!
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