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‘The Flood’ Review: An Alligator Thriller with a Bloody Chomp Factor



The scene the place Robert Shaw will get eaten in “Jaws” is among the most thrilling moments in film historical past. In spite of everything of Steven Spielberg’s virtuoso framing and funky ’70s Hitchcock scare ways, the shark’s big-mouthed consumption of a person who absolutely deserves to be eaten had an incredibly uncooked “Look, there it is!” exploitation-film brazenness. (One not inaccurate method to describe “Jaws” can be as the best B-movie ever made.) “The Flood,” an alligator-attack film that’s additionally a violent prison-break thriller, takes its cue from that scene. Set in a backwater Louisiana police station throughout a hurricane, the movie isn’t shy about serving up its large, nasty human-torso-meets-jaws moments. It’s principally a slasher film with enamel.

The alligator thriller, in fact, was at all times a bargain-basement knockoff of “Jaws” — actually, because the alligators are inevitably slithering out of some basement someplace. However it was launched with an ironic sliver of cachet, as a result of “Alligator” (1980), the primary entry within the style to win consideration, was written by John Sayles, who’d launched his seminal impartial drama “Return of the Secaucus 7” the identical 12 months. The Sayles connection signified that “Alligator” was without delay a meat-grinder monster thriller and a realizing campy gloss on meat-grinder monster thrillers. The style had truly begun in 1976 with “Eaten Alive,” the very dangerous film that Tobe Hooper made straight after “The Texas Chain Saw Massacre.” It now features a huge catalogue of such titles as “Lake Placid” (1999), “Dark Age” (1987), “Black Water” (2007), and, extra just lately, the logy and overpraised “Crawl” (2019), a waterlogged thriller that trapped you in a home together with a father and daughter and two gators.

“The Flood” is each schlockier and livelier. It lets you already know the place it’s coming from within the opening sequence, as a few deadbeat strangers take refuge from the storm in an deserted home. A gator on the free reveals up on the entrance door in about three minutes (no gradual construct right here), chowing down on one of many deadbeats. The opposite one tries to struggle off the gator with a stick, however she turns into mincemeat as properly. The movie is telling us that its body-munch scenes are going to be served up like porn. The alligators are (principally) digital, and fairly convincing, although the innovation right here is that their consuming of heads and torsos is rendered with a grotesque wash of digital blood spatter.

4 of the large 500-pound beasts have climbed in via the roof ducts of the Lutree Sheriff’s Division, a concrete bunker of a constructing during which many of the film is about. Inconveniently, the place is enjoying host to half a dozen burly grizzled stone-sociopath killers who’re being moved from one jail to a different. The bus they have been on needed to cease due to the storm, and several other of the prisoners’ comrades have ambushed the place to bust them out. It is a set-up that the John Carpenter of “Assault on Precinct 13” would approve of, and it principally carries you alongside, since even an alligator film can’t be all alligators. (That was the difficulty with “Crawl.”) “The Flood” has two units of predators, one a bit much less human than the opposite.  

The staging, by director Brandon Slagle (“House of Manson”), is fundamental in a reliable potboiler method, and the forged is fairly good. Nicky Whelan, because the sheriff, is sort of a prole Angelina Jolie, and the hulking actors who play the prisoners, like Mike Ferguson and Randall J. Bacon, flip them into convincing hardened sinners. Casper Van Dien, from “Starship Troopers,” performs the inmate who isn’t as dangerous as they’re (he’s a cop killer who Had His Causes), and his romantic flirtation with the sheriff is the corny glue that tries to carry the film collectively. However what’s actually holding it collectively is the promise of alligators doing that factor they do. Stalk, slither, chomp, repeat.

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