(director/writer: Alexandre Aja; screenwriters: Michael & Shawn Rasmussen; cinematographer: Maxime Alexandre; editor: Elliot Greenberg; music: Max Aruj/Steffen Thum; cast: Kaya Scodelario (Haley Keller), Barry Pepper (Dave Keller), Ross Anderson (Wayne Taylor), Anson Boon (Stan), José Palma (Pete), Ami Metcalf (Lee), Morfydd Clark (Beth Keller), Savannah Steyn (Lisa); Runtime: 87; MPAA Rating: R; producers: Sam Raimi/Craig Forbes/Alexandre Aja; Paramount Pictures; 2019)
“If you’re into schlock, this film has it in spades.”
Reviewed by Dennis Schwartz
A nail-biting and funny but absurd horror film that has marauding even if the dialogue is lame. giant alligators on the attack during a Category 5 hurricane. It’s filled with bloody mayhem and cheap thrills, making it a strictly for entertainment film that successfully targets the summer cinema mall crowd. Director/writerAlexandre Aja (“The Hills Have Eyes”/”Pirhana 3D”) filmed it in Belgrade, Serbia, which is a substitute for rural Florida.
The action unfolds in Florida during a massive hurricane. Haley (Kaya Scodelario) is a competitive swimmer at the university with performance problems, who was coached as a child by her dad (Barry Pepper). When told by her sister Beth (Morfydd Clark) their devoted but divorced dad, Dave, is missing, Haley ignores the evacuation orders to search for him and drives with her dog two hours from the university to the Everglades. When she finds dad in the crawlspace of their former family home, he’s badly hurt. Trying to flee, the two are trapped by the onrushing floodwaters, and also face the threat from a pack of computer-generated super-sized gators.
If you’re into schlock, this B film has it in spades. Some might be entertained by its ridiculous survival conceit that’s taken so seriously by the earnest cast, and even if not a particularly good film (the heroine and her dad ludicrously try to reconcile old family issues in the midst of the gators attacking) these viewers may find enough fun in such hokum to not care about its inconsistency in details. But the screenplay writers, the brothers Michael and Shawn Rasmussen, put out a simple and efficient script about self-preservation that has plenty of thrills, even if the dialogue is lame.
REVIEWED ON 7/11/2019 GRADE: B-