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Sunday, 31 May 2009

The Thin White Dude's Reviews - Rogue

By far and out the best giant man-eating crocodile horror movie you will see all year. Hands down. Prove me wrong. Anyway, your average high-concept horror movie, all that needs to be said is that Australian tourist boat gets in a bit of a pickle, courtesy of a twenty + foot long crocodile. Now, for starters. This is a very, very solid film. It really was a pleasure to see a good film from this year after the recent drought. For example, the film has a linear, but nonetheless well-executed structure in terms of plot development. Director Greg McLean develops the characters of the piece, while sustaining the tension in the build-up to the arrival of the croc. Also, the beast remains virtually unseen until the climax, sticking to the old saying that "its what you don't see that's the scariest." Hey, if it works for Spielberg in Jaws, why not this. As for the music in the film, it is certainly strong, mixing your bog standard horror film composition with the sounds of the Australian outback and the Aborigine tribal instruments, enveloping the audience in a great atmosphere. Also worthy of mention is the acting in the film, which is certainly bounds and leaps ahead of the recent trend of terrible acting in the horror film genre. As mentioned early, McLean's screenplay has great structure, but it also has very good character development. Sure, a good few are cliché, but after the recent slew of horror films each claiming their stake as the most violent ever while not focusing on the characters, even the old clichés of horror become a warm welcome. These characters are portrayed well by their respective actors, which while are certainly no masterclasses in acting, do their job above the average standard of horror acting and serve their purpose well. Finally, I must point out that the scene in which the tourists attempt to climb over the river via a suspended rope served to be one of the tensest scenes in recent horror cinema. Now, time to get digging. My main problem with Rogue is the fact that, yes, it is way better than the recent slew of horror films, but that it is nonetheless cliche. As with many high-concept horror films, the directors/writers often focus on the scares rather than the characters. McLean has fallen into this trap, and in doing so, making some of the characters we are meant to care about come across as annoying. Personally, I feel this is a screenplay problem rather than a directing problem. Had he written a better screenplay, this problem could have been rectified. Also, the film is very predictable. As mentioned, despite being an original concept, its execution is very bog-standard and you are able to figure out who is going to live and who is going to die fifteen, twenty minutes into the film. Finally, at the end of the film, much of the tension is lost during an extended battle between the protagonist and the croc, revealed as an FX trick that comes to remind that this is indeed just a movie. Reminders of Jaws are inevitable, but the best thing that film done was to virtually conceal the monster, never really fully giving the audience a glimpse of the monster. Also, a graphic effect, no matter how good, and this one is particularly good, reminds the audience that it is not a real creature, but something generated by a computer. However, despite some of the above criticisms and unquestionable flaws in the film, if you want to go and see a gold solid, if clichéd, horror film, then seek it out. When I say seek it out I mean it, because after its poor box office performance, it may never see the light of day in Europe, so buy the Region 1 US DVD, or the Australian version, which is the one I saw, courtesy of a valuable source.

The Thin White Dude's Prognosis – 6.1/10

On The Topic Of Rogue

WARNING - CONTAINS SPOILER

Tell me how does Radha Mitchell's character miraculously survive the giant croc's attack?

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