Rogue Review

The Film

For all its natural beauty, hot weather and cricketing superiority, Australia, to quote Dylan Moran, is almost entirely populated by things designed to kill us all. For those who like a bit of unnecessary adventure, you can travel there, journey into the outback and enjoy wild thrills and mortal peril, but more sensible people may like it just fine if they snuggle up with a tube of pringles and some tinnies to recreate the antipodean experience with Greg McLean's Rogue.

Rogue is a monster movie where a party of tourists are set upon by a seven metre long crocodile during a boat trip. Rogue teaches the xenophobic viewer several useful lessons. Firstly, don't, I repeat, don't panic as you will end up killing everyone else. Secondly, we learn that the English screw it up for their decent colonies, and finally that Australia is a magnificent country that deserves to spend its time killing the human population without any interference from the viewer.
McLean's previous film, Wolf Creek, was well liked. It also showed off his nation whilst decimating unsuspecting pleasure seekers. Rogue, as a project, is a lot more ambitious though with the Weinsteins on board, and the necessity for elaborate creature animation and effects. There are magnificent aerial shots showing off parts of the Northern territory that other films haven't been able to reach, and it is an almost completely location shot film.

It is still a monster movie though. A monster movie with a large croc and worried humans, and as Lake Placid proved this can be quite a satirical idea. Rogue avoids relying on humour though and elects to build up the drama through excellent ensemble acting before reverting to an escalating series of setpiece battles between homo sapiens and beast. Rogue goes for the jugular in terms of tension and melodrama, and, more often than not, its aim is true. McLean's screenplay is not too novel, setting aside, as Radha Mitchell gets to be the woman in charge until she is needed to fill the role of damsel in distress. The American lead is all heroic, and McLean's countrymen are a tad stereotypic as chauvinists all. Yet the dialogue is never forced, easy gags and manipulative set-ups are rejected, and the fate of his cast is in constant believable jeopardy.
Aided by amazing locations and spectacular cinematography, Rogue is a breathtaking advert for the Northern territory. When the camera is not seeking out beads of sweat, twitches and the hint of fear, it is searching the endless untamed terrain around its subjects. The result is a truly Australian horror movie made with extreme competence and no little verve.

I didn't warm to Wolf Creek, but on the evidence of this outing I may have been gravely mistaken. Rogue will scare you off visiting Australia whilst taunting you with the prospect of all you'd miss out on by doing so, it is an exciting addition to the modern resurgence of the monster movie and you should see it.

Technical Specs

Rogue was shot digitally and this transfer shows a level of detail in both interior and location shots which is quite simply stunning. The relatively small filesize of 17.6GB should not convince you that this is a so-so transfer as the aerial photography here and its reproduction is breathtaking. Detail is magnificent in and out of shadow, the contrast is top notch and the colour representation is warm, bright, and very good indeed. It certainly doesn't look like film, but then it wasn't meant to.
The sound comes in lossless and standard options. The master audio track possesses plenty of grunt and the LFE channel is vibrant, the surrounds and rears are used extensively to create ambience and to carry the score. Dialogue is mixed to the center speaker and this is a strong experience with good coverage, if not a full 3-D effect. The other audio track is a simple stereo option which feels a lot bassier and less clear.

Special features

The extras offered here are all standard definition with several featurettes covering the historical inspiration for the story and the various tasks involved in bringing it to screen. The Real Rogue shows us that 7 metre crocodiles are not the work of fiction and how the crew visited some particularly scary specimens to make sure that they understand how to represent the monster in the film. There are featurettes on the location shoot and the beauty of the Northern territory, we get to see how the effects of the animation and the prosthetics were done, and finally how the music was scored for the film by Francois Tetaz.

There is a much larger making of documentary which features cast and crew, and a lot of the writer director discussing the movie alongside footage of the filming. McLean takes his research seriously when he discusses the story, and the logistics of carrying a large crew around in excessive heat over huge distances are explored thoroughly. Mclean explains his casting, and the cast applaud his organisation, but also his accessibility.

The commentary covers some of the same areas as the other extras, but McLean is a natural talker as he explains that the script was an old one from when he was a struggling writer. He uncovers some of the tricks of the editing that allows mixing very different locations as if they were one continuous journey, and explains how he could convince actors to go into the water!

All of the content on the disc adds up to 22.9GB of which 17.6GB is given over to the transfer.


We've not had a good monster movie in a while and McLean tops his debut hit with this one. This is a lovely transfer with decent extras, seek it out.

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