Croc! is trash cinema at its finest. Now, if anyone involved with the making of Croc! reads this little review, please, don’t take that opening statement as a criticism, as that’s not how I meant it. To me, trash cinema is the kind of cinema I live for. It’s where the Ed Wood’s and Roger Corman’s of the world reign supreme. Where Pam Grier is a gladiator trapped in The Arena and Steve McQueen is running away from The Blob as it devours an entire town. It’s a place full of special effects that look as if they were done on a budget of five quid and a packet of crisps, actors chewing through scenery like my kids through my bank account, and directorial styles that make Tommy Wiseau look like Martin Scorsese. Trash cinema is my realm and Croc! fits perfectly into it.
The blurb that accompanied the screener I had the pleasure of watching says:
Lisa and her family unite at a wedding venue, excited for the big day. However, unknown to the family, a nest of hungry crocodiles has been living in the nearby lake. As the crocodiles crash the wedding in a blood thirsty massacre, the remaining family members must survive the night against these Jurassic beasts.
And that’s pretty much the nuts and bolts of Croc! in one simple paragraph. But as these reviews have to be around 1,000 words, I should give you a little more than that while also trying to keep it as spoiler free as possible, and if you read any of my other work here on Horror Obsessive, you know I mainly cover classic movies every bugger has seen about a million times so spoiler free ain’t really my domain. But I like a challenge, so here goes.
Croc! starts with a young couple camping out in the English countryside. These beautiful people—he (Clint Gordon) is ripped like an extra from Magic Mike and she (Sarah Alexandra Marks) has that classic beauty look that reminds me of old Hollywood—are all tucked up in their tent when the man, Simon, needs to answer a call of nature. Popping off for a leak, he hears a strange noise and when he discovers what it is he comes face to face with a giant f*cking crocodile that proceeds to eat him, and then her. Now, I don’t think you can call that a spoiler as the trailer for Croc! shows it happen. Well, alright, it doesn’t show them getting chowed down on as it cuts before that part but come on, it’s a movie about gigantic man/woman-eating crocodiles, what do you think it’s going to do? Buy them dinner?
We’re then introduced to Dylan ‘Bruiser’ King (Mark Haldor) who is hiring the place where the previous munching happened for his daughter’s wedding. We find out that he’s a conservationist who lost his wife to poachers—they killed her, they didn’t truss her up and sell her on the black market—which is simultaneously such impressive and sad news, that five seconds later he’s in the jacuzzi boinking the woman who runs the place. And just like that, Croc! sets out its stall as to what kind of movie it’s going to be. There is boinking, there are suggestions of boinking, and there is a pack of crocs wandering around the place eating people.
Well, I say pack. It appears the number of crocs in Croc! changes with the wind, especially when we get into the climactic everyone-is-being-sodding-eaten-we-have-to-kill-these-things stage of proceedings. First, there’s one. Then two. Then three (I think). Then one again. I don’t know if this was deliberate or a continuity error, but to be honest, it doesn’t really matter as it’s the same special effect used over and over and all I care about is how many actors can die in a way that would put Bülent Kayabaş to shame. I should mention, however, that the actual effect of the croc is about as good as you could expect for five quid and a packet of crisps. It’s not on the level of King Kong by any stretch of the imagination, but it’s not as bad as the Creature From The Haunted Sea. It almost passes muster when you see it for the first time until it opens its mouth and a tongue that Gene Simmons would be proud of falls out of its mouth.
It’s obvious to me that everyone that was involved with Croc! really believed in what they were doing. The cast act the s*it out of every single scene—especially Chris Cordell who plays Reverend Jackson, and who on this performance alone has jumped into my Top 10 B-Movie actors of all time—while writer and director Paul W. Franklin tries to make the best film he can for around £20, plus any loose change he found down the back of his sofa, and I love them for that. They all must’ve known that Croc! wasn’t going to win them any awards outside of a few Razzies, so they lean into the blood, guts, and gore with such gusto that they should be applauded, not as I’ve seen in a few other reviews, ridiculed and mocked. Those reviews miss the point of Croc!
Croc! knows what it is. It’s a cheap as-hell monster movie with a monster that looks about as realistic as a baby with a mustache. It’s a horror movie that’s as horrific as a cat in mittens, and if you go into Croc! expecting Citizen Kane then you are going to be very disappointed. If, however, you go in expecting trash cinema at its finest, then Croc! will deliver you an hour and twenty minutes of some of the best/worst death scenes and hammy acting that you could possibly hope for.