It may be shark week, but danger lurks in lakes, too. See killer crocs become deadly wedding crashers in the flawed but fun “Croc!”
I love creature features. Might as well start by making that clear. I love them, warts and all, and sometimes they can really punch upwards in how they are executed. So, when the opportunity to watch one comes along, especially one set in the UK and pays homage to Alligator, I’ll stop everything and watch.
In Croc! (originally titled Crocodile Vengeance), a wedding in an English country house is interrupted by uninvited guests. And they didn’t want the vegan option.
We have the traditional introduction, with a couple out camping. It’s night, and of course, they hear the usual creepy noises. The use of a phone light really helps in that you can’t see anything. But you can hear wet, throaty growls — our introduction to the creature in question. The effects in this setup are pretty good, using quick shots so it doesn’t give the game away at the start.
Following this, we are introduced to Dylan (Mark Haldor), who works with animals (which is handy) as a zoologist. He is being shown around the grounds ahead of the wedding, and after an extremely quick bit of exposition (he works in nature and is a widower), we follow him into the sauna with the tour guide.
Fast forward six months.
It’s the night before the big day, and we are introduced to the wedding party. The girls enter first, with the bride-to-be, Lisa (Sian Altman). The first thing we discover is that she is stressed due to her father, Dylan, being late. And then, we get the posh kitchen version of a campfire ghost story, which relates back to the couple from the introduction.
But really, all of this is just padding and a means to get the guests on the property and establish who you may care to root for — and who you’ll be happy to see become croc chow.
Come evening, we need a reason for someone to go outside. Obviously, with it being a wedding, a bridesmaid, Georgie (Beatrice Fletcher), is making smoldering eyes at the groom, Charlie (Mark Nettleton). Luckily for us, they go out into the grounds and make their way into the lair of the hungry croc.
The despicable groom immediately shows us that he is capable of worse behavior than cheating on his bride by actually putting the unlucky girl between him and the croc. Charlie then compounds this felony by hiding his bloody clothing and going to bed.
At this point, I knew one thing: If he doesn’t get killed horribly, then there is no justice in this world.
As horror fans, we’ve seen enough to know that this crucial information will come to light later. I’m not sure if it was a conscious decision to make the characters have poor moral compasses, but as the groom confesses to the best man, Ben (Stephen Staley), about the infidelity, it’s dismissed as, “Hey, we’ve all done it.” Bring on the karmic carnage.
Charlie also tells the disbelieving best man about a crocodile being loose in the surrounding area but swears him to secrecy in case the wedding is called off.
The morning of the big day arrives, and let’s just cut to it.
Dylan, having had a 30-second chat bout the missing girl, decides it could not have been suicide and goes looking for her — while the wedding is about to start. Out of all of the characters, he is the most sympathetic because he is playing the proud father. He starts to slowly piece the information together that the missing girl has probably ended up as a midnight snack.
Then we get to the wedding feast, where the croc shows up and decides to have a feast of his own.
Things go bad quickly, and the festivities are disrupted as the attending guests are munched, crunched, and thrown about.
This would be fun, except the digital blood effects are like Syfy / Asylum productions, which I cannot stand. Some less-than-stellar acting doesn’t help the situation either.
Though I can’t say I was entirely invested, I did want to stay if for no other reason than to see the groom get his.
We do get some good shots toward the film’s climax, and writer-director Paul W. Franklin even channels a bit of Jaws 2.
Sian, playing the bride, provides some great moments of light relief, especially berating the Vicar for saying, “It is still one of God’s creatures.” She delivers her lines with aplomb, no matter how hokey they are. The three leading women, Lisa, Vanessa (Chrissie Wunna), and Amy (Antonia Williams), are easily the most sympathetic characters. You know that they will / should pull through the ordeal. Unfortunately, the acting is so inconsistent that you might not care as much as you should.
There are some good lines in this script, but they are delivered in such a way that it is beyond the ‘so bad it’s good’ nature normally associated with these kinds of films. That’s a shame because I really wanted to love it.
As it stands, I didn’t hate it; it’s watchable if not exceptional. But that’s primarily because it’s hard not to love a killer croc devouring insufferable people.
It’s far from perfect, but it may just be the perfect mindless summer horror time killer.