In one respect, film critics are no different from others. We all have individual hangups, personal preferences, and guilty pleasures. Some hate westerns, others love musicals, but we all have our own weaknesses. I have two: Nazis and crocodiles. Give me a holocaust drama where you can tell the good guys from the bad guys, because the good guys are the victims you stand up for and the bad guys wear swastikas. I like it even more when you can’t tell the difference. His fans hated it, but I even liked it when the centerpiece was Nazi was played by Tom Cruise in a thing called Valkyrie. As for crocodiles, the reptilian versions of Nazis, my fascination never fades when they see the
TKTKTK ★★★ (3/4 stars)
There are no Nazis in a thriller called The flood. Not real crocodiles either, but alligators, their evil cousins with shorter snouts, abound. A storm rages in Louisiana, sending an army of swamp gators into a frenzy. It’s the worst disaster since Hurricane Katrina devastated the region, and director Brandon Slagle is working overtime to bring it to film with bloodshed. Board a bus with a gang of five vicious criminals incarcerated for the usual crimes – armed robbery, murder, murder of cops – bound for a new prison guarded by a female sheriff and her deputies, all at the mercy of predatory reptiles with no some effort to easily beat a cast of low-budget unknowns. Because the monsters look like real monsters rather than computer-generated movie constructs, the terror seems unbearably real and the dangers doubly believable.
Roads have been washed away, making escape impossible, as well as the rescue plans of the convicts. It’s pretty scary, full of wild weather, “gotcha!” moments, special effects and constant outbursts of brutal violence from both animals and humans. Action is juxtaposed with stark close-ups of the alligators feasting on human flesh, leavened by down-home Southern colloquialisms. Example: “After Hurricane Ida, my sister’s husband was eaten right in front of us on the front yard. It took them two weeks to find what was left of him in the belly of a five-hundred-pound alligator. I’ve been tangled up with them since I was knee high to a crayfish. The dialogue, for a Louisiana expat like me, is crude but familiar.
As the predators devour their victims one by one, the police and the crooks are forced to join forces to survive. It all leads up to the grand finale, when all the breathtaking reptiles converge on everyone who is still alive at the same time. Is The flood a good movie? Of course not. But it kept my heart racing, which is more than I can say about most of the big budget fiascos I’ve seen lately. It’s not boring, you don’t dare doze off, and there’s something to be said for a cast of bloodthirsty carnivores in the middle of an actor’s strike.
Observer Reviews are regular reviews of new and notable movies.