Crocodile


2000
Dir. Tobe Hooper

When you begin to watch a film about the rampage of a giant crocodile, you pretty much know what to expect.

Take some annoying, buffed and polished ‘hawt’ characters (thirty-somethings playing teens). Add some mind-numblingly stupid dialogue, a cute dog, a soundtrack full of rock music. Throw in an artery-hardening dose of really bargain-bin and shoddy-even-for-a-low-budget-film ‘special’ effects. Hey presto, you have just concocted the shameful wonderment that is Tobe Hooper’s Crocodile.

The only thing that had me hiding behind the couch during this one was the fact that it was just so head-achingly, mind-deadeningly, heart-breakingly bad. Characterisation is beyond redundant – most viewers will probably just want to see nubile young bodies being chewed on by a giant crocodile with a dubious modus-operandi (said nubile bodies stole croc’s eggs for a laugh, you see). We don’t care if the guy with less spiky hair than the other guys is in love with the girl called Claire. We don’t care if Annoying Jock #2 is like totally flunking his mid-terms, and thinks ‘Pizza is like sex’. One of the girls wears contacts and disapproves of Annoying Jock #3’s friends, so I’m guessing she’s supposed to be the intelligent one. There are also a couple of ole’ Redneck boys fishing in a restricted area and discussing ‘cock-sucking animal rights hippy bullshit.' They also spit a lot and get eaten very quickly by the giant croc. Said giant croc then disposes of the evidence by pushing the men’s car into the lake… Clever croc.

During the obligatory camp-fire scene the teens discuss the old abandoned hotel in the middle of the bayou. Apparently the giant crocodile scared away all the tourists and the owner of the hotel went insane. This is revealed to have never happened but it sounds more interesting than the rest of the rubbish spouted by these morons. The next day the teens frolic in the water and the guys indulge in some homo-erotic pulling down of each other’s pants while the girls (apart from the ‘intelligent’ one) dreamily look on and say stuff like ‘Wow, isn’t Chad like the cutest!?’ Every now and again we are treated to glimpses of a giant plastic crocodile floating ‘menacingly’ close by our group of teens.

Upon discovering a severed arm and the fact that a couple of their friends are missing, there is much swishing of hair, hands on hips and idiots saying, ‘ok guys, I think we’re like totally lost.’ The crocodile attacks are limp and as they continue they just get more dreary and depressing. Character stands too close to water. Giant, badly computer-generated crocodile snaps them up. It’s as quick and tensionless as that. When we finally get to see the croc in all its shoddy glory, it is beyond bad. It will most likely make you yearn for the ‘croc-vision’ used at the beginning of the film to make a return. Eventually we are left with three characters in a gruelling scene involving a wheelbarrow and bug spray.

‘You guys? What if that thing is really magical? That means we’re not safe!’
The only time Hooper offers us a glance of his heyday directorial offerings is in a scene featuring a creepy Gator Farm, complete with grotesque props, grimy skulls and dirty walls and a vague hint of sweltering and stifling atmosphere. When the characters arrive at Bob’s Convenience store you almost hope that Leatherface greets them at the door. There is also some unsettling talk about ‘death rolls’ and humans being reduced to ‘flappin’ bits of meat’ and there seems to be an attempt on the writer’s part to mythologize the giant beast.

Avoid. Avoid. Avoid. Except the scene where the giant, badly computer-generated croc jumps out of the water, soars above a boat in slow motion, pirouettes and gobbles up the sheriff. You should watch that bit.

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