August 2nd, 2007 DVD Reviews, Film, Xpress

Dying with a whimper at the US box office, this film has been rather embarrassingly shunted straight to video in Australia. With Greg McLean’s crocodile monster movie Rogue about to hit screens, it would have made more sense to hold off and release it on the crest of a wave of interest in all things crocodilian.

It’s a particular shame because it’s actually a quite cool monster movie. A genuine horror rather than just a thriller or action movie, it has a few jump-out-of-your-seat scares, a pretty good script with good characters and a grimy, Se7en-inspired aesthetic. Sure it’s schlocky but come on, it’s a giant crocodile movie.

A cynical news reporter is sent to remote Burundi as punishment for a botched story that’s landed the station in political hot water. He takes with him his fast talking cameraman/sidekick (black, naturally) and a young naturalist and scientist (female and hot, naturally) and they go on the trail of Gustave, the name given to the giant predator stalking villagers up and down the river.

It’s not afraid to bring the political troubles of Africa into the story, nor the observation that nobody cares about Africans dying because they’re black, and rather than coming across as hokey it gives it an edgy dimension.

But being a creature feature you’ll be seeing it for the creature, and although some of the CGI is a little videogame-y at times, it doesn’t disappoint. Gustave rips victims gloriously limb from limb, blood showering the ground and the camera alike.

A lot of people didn’t like it, but it made a not inconsiderable amount of money in the US before fading away, so there’s still a market for giant killer animals. If that’s you, you could do worse.

The local distributors evidently didn’t think any extras would help sales along either, as there isn’t a single one.

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