It's been a while since we had a really good 'Killer Croc' flick. Black Water was acceptable enough but it didn't really have the bite of the daddy of the genre, Lewis Teague's wonderful Alligator. Greg McLean's Rogue isn't quite as good as Teague's film but it's still a very nice surprise; exciting, gory and packed with the unique atmosphere of the Australian Outback.
In the classic fashion, we get a motley group of people collected together in one place so that the crocodile can begin to finish them off. This time, the setting is a boat, cruising through Kakadu National Park in the Northern Territories. Skippering the ship is Kate, played by the admirable Radha Mitchell; amongst her passengers is Pete (Michael Vartan), an American travel writer. Kate and Pete clash right from the start so it's no surprise that when the chips are down - and they crash down in the form of a huge man-eating crocodile - they band together for survival. Meanwhile, the rest of the passengers turn out to be croc bait.
There are some exciting monster movie thrills to be had from Rogue and they are directed with a fine grasp of tension by Greg McLean,who made the superb Wolf Creek a few years ago. However, what you remember, as in his debut, is the astonishing atmosphere of rural Australia. He treats it as a place of beauty and terror, reminding you of the work that John Coquillon did with the English countryside in Witchfinder General and Straw Dogs. The tone is a strange combination of the tranquil and the disturbing and the cunning pace of the movie lulls the viewer into exactly the right state of false security.
Rogue was made in 2007 but was sat on by the capacious buttocks of the Weinstein's for the best part of a year before dribbling out on a limited release. It finds its way to UK DVD courtesy of Icon who provide a pleasing release. The anamorphic 1.85:1 picture is a pleasure to watch, rendering the colours and shades of the location shooting quite splendidly, and the eventful Dolby Digital 5.1 track uses the surround channels and sub for a few memorable shock moments. There are a few extras on the disc including an informative director's commentary, some making-of featurettes - the main one lasting a generous 45 minutes - and a piece about the real-life crocodiles which inspired the film.