What is it with movies about cranky, killer crocodiles lately? From Primeval to Lake Placid 2, I have seen them all — and that's too many. But it's my job, so I dutifully punched in for the latest on the lake, Croc, a 2007 TV movie that's new to DVD.
It's a Thai production starring an extremely good looking blonde male model (Peter Tuinstra, who is actually a big TV star in Thailand), a surly — as if there's any other kind — Michael Madsen as a big game hunter, a supporting cast of edible characters, and some real-live crocs.
Croc seems like it might be pretty decent at first; the lack of CGI is refreshing, the actors are likable, and it takes a less-schlocky approach to the material. However, there's little life in the story as it swims underwater for an hour and half, culminating in not much. There are a few subplots involving a budding romance; a crime syndicate; and an animal welfare activist — but there really aren’t enough balls in the air to distract one from the mundane plot and basically nonexistent pacing.
There are some suitable shots using the aforementioned real crocodiles (even the baby ones are inherently creepy) and a lot of reasonably ambitious underwater sequences, but the death scenes aren't terribly gory or suspenseful.
Croc is definitely horror-lite. The rapacious reptile isn't even the result of a nuclear accident or a scientific experiment gone wrong… nope, he's in the tourist area due to (ho-hum) global warming. There's a teeny bit of CGI and a puppet used along with the stock footage and original shots for the film, but it's impossible to get a sense of scale — I'm pretty sure the croc isn't supposed to be freakishly large, though. He's just hungry.
Croc definitely will not satisfy the appetites of those looking for a funny/bad SciFi Channel flick, nor those looking for a scary Jaws-style man-eater movie. Avoid.
= = =Reviewed by Staci Layne Wilson