Dir. Greg McLean
Reviewer. Dan Cook
If you’re looking for a meaty chunk of gory B-movie goodness, then look no further than Greg McLean’s 2007 creature feature ROGUE. Starring Radha Mitchell, Michael Vartan, Sam Worthington, John Jarratt and a very young Mia Wasikowska and based on the true story of a giant male saltwater crocodile that attacked some boats in the late 1970’s, this snappy Aussie indie tells the story of a group of unlucky tourists who, while enjoying a sightseeing trip along the turquoise rivers of the Kakadu National Park, find themselves hunted by a monstrous croc.
The performances are all really good here and the script allows for a great deal of character development, letting us get to know the personalities and individual stories of the people trapped in this terrifying situation while also giving us the chance to identify with their fear. Radha Mitchell is particularly good here as the light-hearted tour guide whose compassion inadvertently starts the carnivorous chaos while the direction from WOLF CREEK’s Greg McLean is claustrophobic and tense, utilising both the darkness of the water and the increasingly desperate conditions the characters find themselves in to genuinely thrilling effect. One particularly memorable sequence involving getting a rope across the deadly water to a tree on a riverbank is one of the most relentlessly exciting I’ve seen in a modern horror movie and stands out as a exemplary example of minimalistic yet meticulous filmmaking.
But of course, the star of the show is the crocodile himself and boy, what a beast it is. Brought to life through an AACTA winning combination of impressive CG and animatronic special effects, this ravenous reptile is one of the most ruthless and brutal killing machines in cinema - with the final scene set in the depths of the monsters’ lair being a gruesome and nail-bitingly intense demonstration of his formidable power. We all know that ‘Jaws’ is the greatest film ever made and indeed, the spectre of Spielberg looms large over ‘Rogue’ as it does with most killer animal pictures. However, despite my love for shark movies, I’ve come to the realisation that with CRAWL (2019), ALLIGATOR (1980), BLACK WATER (2007), EATEN ALIVE! (1978), LAKE PLACID (1999) and indeed ROGUE, there are more good crocodile and alligator films than there are about my finned friends - with this standing high at the very top of the food chain.