I love me some giant animal flicks. Seriously, I’ll watch pretty much anything that involves a giant animal running amok, especially when they are MEGA! I know that many of them are crappy CGI mess-fests not known for their brains, and I accept that. So when I picked up Rogue, an Australian monster movie from the Dimension EXTREME series, I was expecting stupid fun but not much else. Imagine my surprise when I found it to be a cleverly written, well-acted and respectably gory hidden gem of a movie! Mega-Python vs. Gatoroid this is not.
Directed by Greg McLean of Wolf Creek fame, Rogue follows an American journalist (Michael Vartan from Alias) who travels to the Australian outback on assignment. While on a boating day trip with a group of various tourist stereotypes (plus Radha Mitchell from Silent Hill as the lovely and capable tour guide) the boat runs aground on a small island, where the group discovers that swimming to civilization isn’t their biggest problem. I think you can guess that a man-eating croc is their biggest problem. The group must band together to get to safety and avoid being eaten. I’m sure everyone makes it out alive…
This movie is one of the strongest mega monster movies I’ve seen in a long time. It’s not Citizen Kane or anything, but having a monster movie that puts suspense and atmosphere above mindless kills and dull scripting is very refreshing. It moves well, has plenty of croc action, and keeps the tension tight during scenes of swimming or attempted escape. The ending is probably the weakest part, but it’s still a strong offering from McLean.
What really baffles me is how this film got dumped straight to video in the Dimension EXTREME series. That group of films is questionable at best (with the exception of Inside, which also deserved so much better), and Rogue should have had better marketing, perhaps even a theatrical release. After watching so much SyFy crap (I watch them, I’m not ashamed), this is a breath of fresh air over blood-filled water. Definitely worth watching, and worth owning if you’re a lover of the creature feature.