March 30th, 2009 by Perfesser Deviant

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Director: Kevin O’Neill
Writer: Dan Acre, Frances Doel & John Huckert
Release Year: 2004

Jurassic Crock!

A monster escapes from a biology lab and it’s up to a b-movie cast to stop it. The monster – and I hope you’ll forgive my horrible spoilers here – is part dinosaur and part crocodile. Yeah….

(Spoilers follow….)

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The Banning brothers, Tom (Matt Borlenghi) and Michael (Jake Thomas), have an idyllic life in their boondocks paradise. Since they have no father, and no mother is mentioned, adult Tom has become the de facto father to young Michael. Tom isn’t really the best father-figure since he lets his little brother bike all over the place without any sort of light and eventually is so neglectful that his kid brother is devoured by the dinocroc. His blandness and vague love-interest skills, when combined with his A-Team ingenuity, makes him the kind-of hero that a film like this requires; even though he lets his little brother die horribly. Michael is that kind of fresh-faced kid that infests horror movies, but at least this time the film has the courtesy to kill the little bugger off as he is technically decapitated. It counts as decapitation if something swallows your body and leaves your head behind, right? I guess I’m being a bit of a behind-head even worrying about such nonsense, but the film gave me so little to consider it was natural that my mind would wander.

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The Harpers are Sheriff Harper (Charles Napier) and his adult daughter, animal control officer Diane (Jane Longenecker). The sheriff is one of those crusty old men that are so popular in films, what he lacks in finesse he makes up for in being obstinate. Despite being a cop, he still treats his daughter like a little girl and beats up any bland Bannings who express an interest in dating / having hot sex with her; this sort of overprotective father probably is bad for her love-life. Still, he’s not a terrible jerk and really does try his best to do his job to protect the local rednecks from science; or is that the local preacher’s job? Regardless, Diane must be a terrible disappointment to her father since she’s not inclined to gas the dogs that she captures. Her soft-hearted nature is either due to her being a cute little muffin or a reaction to her dad’s habit of being a big old meanie, but either way it’s typical for a film heroine. She still has romantic feelings for Tom even though her father broke his jaw once – not really the way I like to get a sore jaw in a relationship with a woman – and he seems keen despite the risk.

Incidentally, one of the sheriff’s deputies is played by Max Perlich, an actor I don’t see nearly often enough.

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The evil biology company is run by the evil Paula Kennedy (Joanna Pacula) who wants to keep publicity to a minimum while the genetic aberration that her company has released upon the world because of gross stupidity eliminates the various red shirts; she must die, we all know this from her first appearance. Judith (Jamie Akhavi) is the lab worker stupid enough to wander into the toothy specimen area and releases the beastie; anyone who knows anything about labs knows that there are strict protocols in place that would have prevented her from entering the enclosure. Edwin Danders (Price Carson) goes out to try to trap the beastie using live dogs as bait – I hate dogs so I for one am all for this – but ends up getting chomped so that we can see how big the dinocroc has grown. Finally, there’s the project director Dr. Campbell (Bruce Weitz) – who’s no Bruce – who seeks to stop his evil creation from killing – why did he use this formula on an awful killing machine again? – but ends up chomped; he probably should have waited for the Bruce / Aussie guy to show up.

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Why'd he throw barbecue sauce on me?

The croc guy, Dick Sydney (Costas Mandylor), is the only non-stock character in the entire film. Sure, he’s an Aussie hunter who has dreams about evil crocodiles, but he’s not dangerously insane as is so often the case; he’s actually kind of soft-hearted. He recognizes that he’s terribly outclassed by the dinocroc and, despite being the expert, is willing to listen to others’ ideas. This proves to be an extremely useful character trait since usually the great Aussie hunter is doomed to being eaten by whatever he’s hunting in the great circle of life. Maybe all the cops the croc does feast on made it less hungry? Maybe it’s just that Australians don’t taste any better than they smell. Regardless, he survives despite all the rules of the paint-by-numbers killer animal genre demanding that he doesn’t It’s not fair when a film that’s otherwise terribly typical suddenly gets all original! It kind of makes me angry that the writers – it took three to write this tripe – weren’t able to do things a little differently throughout.

The use of dogs in this film is problematic. It’s the search for his doggie that leads young Michael to be in harm’s way and get eaten by the croc. When Edwin Danders tries to use a dog as bait to capture the dinocroc, the dog escapes and he gets eaten. Clearly the dogs in this film are evil and seek the deaths of the characters, something that I’ve long suspected. I propose that the government buys a bunch of wood-chippers, paints little paws on the side of them, and then goes out and begin making dog slurry; they can start with the dog that lives behind my place that never stops barking. Of course, this plan – useful as it would be in permanently reducing dog crap all over the place – would never get off the ground because there are a lot of people who mistake a dog’s pack instincts for some kind of love. This film has at least two characters like that as they risk their lives to save a bunch of mongrels from their fate of becoming puppy-chow.

At least – even though the filmmakers don’t share my common-sense attitude against dogs – they had the decency to kill off a kid.

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I'm CGI! Fear me!

The effects in this film are limited to a blow-torch and a CGI dinocroc. Some of the underwater shots of the dinocroc look pretty good, completely similar to the swimming aliens in Alien: Resurrection. Otherwise the creature is just a poor-man’s version of the dinosaurs in Jurassic Park with an elongated jaw. The monster itself doesn’t look much like a crocodile and grows at a rate that defies all laws of biology and physics, but that accelerated growth at least gives a credible reason for the ugly bugger to be hungry all the time and not particularly choosy about its meals. It is fun to watch the actors try to pretend to be scared of something that will be inserted later in the film, they probably should have hired someone like Clint Howard to be the dinocroc stand-in; at least then the terror would have been credible.


Rating: Dinocroc   star sci fi reviews horror Dinocroc   blankstar sci fi reviews horror Dinocroc   blankstar sci fi reviews horror Dinocroc   blankstar sci fi reviews horror Dinocroc   blankstar sci fi reviews horror

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