Australian writer-director Greg McLean's follow-up to the his ferocious debut, the retro serial killer thriller WOLF CREEK (2004), pits a tour-boat full of tourists against a killer crocodile.
Chicago travel writer Peter McKell's (Michael Vartan) arrives in Australia's Northern Territory in a suit and a bad mood: The airline lost his luggage and his laptop, cell service is all-but nonexistent and the place is hotter than hell, swarming with flies and full of not-especially welcoming locals. His assignment: Take a day cruise through the wetlands of Kakadu National Park – the main attraction being salt-water crocodiles, which might be more appealing to someone who liked animals – followed by a quick trip to Alice Springs before returning home. Tour guide Kate Ryan (Radha Mitchell) is chipper, but the other passengers are a drag: Squabbling fellow Americans Everett and Mary Ellen (Robert Taylor, Caroline Brazier), obnoxious photographer Simon (Stephen Curry), the quiet weirdo (John Jarratt) with the canister of ashes, bossy Englishman Allen (Geoff Morrell), his ailing wife, Liz (Heather Mitchell), and their cutie-pie teen daughter (Mia Wasikowska ) and brassy, chain-smoker Gwen (Celia Ireland). Oh, and Kate's scrappy black-and-white dog, Kevin, the one everybody else thinks is so cute. There's wildlife, starkly beautiful scenery, a picturesque run-in with a pair of local louts (Sam Worthington, Damien Richardson), crocodile sightings galore. Then just as they're about to head back to the dock, there's a flash of light in the distance… maybe a flare. Kate takes the boat on a detour – someone might be stranded or hurt – and the boat is attacked from beneath. With a massive hole torn through the hull, she's forced to beach it on the nearest piece of land, which turns out to be a mud island. With night falling, the river rising and the island shrinking, Kate and her passengers realize they're being stalked by a massive, wily crocodile.
Beaten into US theaters by PRIMEVAL (2007), McLean's tight, well-acted thriller was relegated to a limited regional release before going to DVD. McLean makes excellent use of the contrast between Australia's remote, otherworldly landscapes and the chaos that awaits unwary tourists, and the giant crocodile is an exceptionally effective monster.
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- Released: 2007
- Rating: R
- Review: Australian writer-director Greg McLean's follow-up to the his ferocious debut, the retro serial killer thriller WOLF CREEK (2004), pits a tour-boat full of tourists against a killer crocodile. Chicago travel writer Peter McKell's (Michael Vartan) arri… (more)