A tour group is stranded on a small river island in the Northern Territory, after their boat is attacked by a giant crocodile. As the tide rises and the crocodile shows no signs of leaving them alone, they must work out a way to escape before they become the beast’s next meal.
I’m always slightly amused by the way that Australian horror films do such a good job of showing off the landscape before killing a bunch of people. I mean, if there’s one thing that screams “Give us your tourism dollars!” it’s definitely reminding everyone that we live in a country where everything is capable of killing you.
Anyway, I feel like I never really used to give Rogue the credit that it deserves. I thought it was a decent giant animal/monster movie, but never really gave it much thought beyond that.
Having recently watched quite a few horror movies in writing for this blog, however, there were a few things about Rogue that I have a new appreciation for.
Within 20 minutes, we have a cast of discernible characters, with their own personalities – and, in a couple of cases, some history. In some respects they’re based on stereotypes (the bawdy Irish woman, the fussy Americans, etc.), but there’s at least been some work done on making them into distinct people, rather than the copy and paste characters that we usually get.
For the most part, the characters also react to events in a manner that’s believable. Stupid at times, sure – but believably stupid.
I feel like this might have something to do with the Australian film industry generally being more character-driven than “Hollywood” in its style; and this also comes through for me in the movie’s reliance on suspense, rather than splashy scenes of over-the-top gore. It takes a while for the crocodile to be properly revealed – and, even when it is, it isn’t shown all that much, right up until the final scenes, which adds to the tension of knowing that there’s something out there waiting to get them, without making it so obvious that you know what’s coming.
Helping to build the tension is a beautifully orchestrated score, which takes the place of the generic ‘spooky music’ that might otherwise be expected.
And, while I feel like the humour of the movie might require an Australian sensibility in order to truly appreciate it, I thought it was funny when it wanted to be. Which makes sense, what with me being Australian and all…
I’m a little iffy on how the movie ends, just because it feels like the most “Hollywood”-like aspect of the entire movie. Buuuuut, it isn’t all that bad, I suppose. And it’s certainly not enough to ruin the rest of the movie for me.
I’ve seen some comparisons between Rogue and Lake Placid, but I feel like that’s a bit lazy. There’s a degree of realism to Rogue that, for me at least, sets it aside from its more-comedic counterpart.