September 7, 2008

Second film from Australian writer/director Greg McLean is an effective horror/thriller about a group of tourists, led by guide Kate (Radha Mitchell), who find themselves trapped on a tidal island in an isolated lagoon by a highly territorial and very hungry rogue crocodile. To say much more about it would be to ruin some of the fun of the movie, as it takes some twists and turns I wasn’t expecting, but suffice to say the last half an hour in particular is one of the most nervewracking experiences I’ve had watching a movie in a quite awhile. I didn’t really care for McLean’s previous work, the serial killer movie Wolf Creek, mostly because it took so long for anything to happen. That said, Rogue is deliberately paced, too, but when things get going, they really get going. It’s also very well acted, especially by Mitchell and by Michael Vartan, who plays an American travel writer, and it’s populated with characters that behave realistically, sensibly and sometimes unexpectedly under the circumstances. McLean wisely doesn’t show the crocodile too much, so when it does appear, it’s to maximum effect, similar to what Steven Spielberg did with the shark in Jaws. Though there are some violent and gory sequences, he also leaves a lot to the imagination. I’m not sure why this wasn’t given a wide release in American theatres, since it outshines the vast majority of the horror films Hollywood has released this year. This is a skilfully made thriller, beautifully shot for the most part in Australia’s Northern Territory, and I very much recommend it for horror and thriller fans.


(For a brief explanation of the Monkey Review rating system, click here.)


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