MRR Movie Review: "Rogue"


MRR Movie Review: "Rogue"

Rating: R (language, some creature violence)
Length: 99 minutes
Release Date: November 8, 2007
Directed by: Greg Mclean
Genre: Horror/Action/Adventure

"Rogue" is the tale of a divergent group of tourists trying to escape the powerful jaws of a crocodile with a taste for human flesh. It mixes great performances, beautiful cinematography, and an excellent script that deftly balances gore and suspense to create a scary, sometimes cheeky film that horror fans will enjoy.

The film is set in Kakadu National Park in Australia, where huge crocs are not uncommon. The crocodiles live in the river but rarely bother the tourist boats. One such boat happens to be captained by Kate (Radha Mitchell), a pretty blonde who quickly catches the eye of Pete (Michael Vartan). Pete is an American journalist who is on assignment in the Australian wild. He is used to posh digs at luxury hotels, so having to rough it in a national park isn't very appealing to him. Neither are Russell (John Jarratt) and Neil (Sam Worthington), two rednecks who are also a part of the group on the boat.

Kate receives a distress signal over the boat's radio, but it is somewhat distant and will take them off the path that the boat usually travels. One of the boat company's brags that attract paying patrons is that their boats are much larger than the competition's, which makes them safer. Kate decides that they should answer the distress call, sure that the large boat can take on any danger. Unfortunately, the boat gets rammed and punctured by something under the water. The boat begins to take on water, forcing them to detour to a small island that puts them just out of radio range.

The group soon realizes that the unknown thing that bumped them in the water was a huge crocodile, which is none too pleased about the invasion of its territory. It picks off a few of the tourists, who realize that once the tide comes in and it gets dark, they will be sitting ducks, because they won't be able to see the crocodile coming. They have to find a way to take out the beast before then.

Normally, a film like this would put one character in charge and have that person become the hero and save the life of everyone in the group. "Rogue" is different in that most of the people in the group are just everyday people. Nobody is an expert at survival skills or combat, so there is nobody for everyone else to look up to. Not a single person on the crew of the ship seems particularly heroic, which means that anyone could step up and be the group's savior in a moment of need. Director Greg Mclean, who also wrote the script, leaves the audience to guess who the hero might be. This is a nice departure from normal horror fare and adds to the overall suspense of the film.

The film is beautifully directed by Mclean, who takes every chance he has to showcase the Australian terrain. The stunning setting provides a contrast to the horror of the island, where an attack could happen at almost any time. Mclean also makes a great decision to intersperse the conflict between the humans and the crocodile with interpersonal conflict. The bickering of the tourists also serves as a bit of a distraction, which makes each subsequent croc attack more unexpected and scary. Viewers will likely jump on at least one occasion.

In addition to the cinematography and suspense, music plays a key role in the film. The end credits begin to roll to the song "Never Smile at a Crocodile," a humorous jab at the plot of the film. The film's score is reminiscent of the famous notes of the "Jaws" theme that always filled viewers with dread. The score to "Rogue" provides similar suspense and matches the narrative perfectly. It helps the movie feel more like a big-studio film, rather than the low-budget indie flick that it really is.

In fact, "Rogue" proves that a low-budget film doesn't have to be low quality as well. Made with a modest budget of around $25 million, the film shows that a good director with a solid, committed cast doesn't have to spend blockbuster money to give the audience a thrilling ride.

Rating: 3 out of 5 stars