After such an extended postproduction period it’s good to finally see Rogue on the big screen. Greg Mclean’s second feature is different to his first – rather than stick with über-horrid gory horror with another Wolf Creek, he’s moved sideways into the creature feature subgenre.
Whilst Jaws was arguably one of the most influential movies ever made, it’s spawned a fair share of shitty imitations. It’s very hard to find even one ‘man versus big hungry critter’ film that comes close to Spielberg’s classic. A safe bet is to take a more lighthearted route, like Lake Placid, Piranha 2: The Spawning or Deep Blue Sea. Mclean gives himself no such easy way out. Whilst Rogue is well and truly b-grade, it’s more or less sincere.
All of the elements in Rogue are treated with respect. The characters are interesting and well constructed, without being truly three dimensional; the script is sparse yet never gets sidetracked; and the action is fun without ever truly terrifying. The budget was put to fantastic use. This film looks and sounds fantastic. Francois Tetaz’s score mightn’t truly hit the spot the way his Wolf Creek one did, but it’s certainly a well-crafted feature.
Most importantly, the croc looks stunning. I’d heard this even from the negative reviews, and you couldn’t argue otherwise. There are maybe two half-second shots where I felt they were stretched past their limitations, but for the majority of the time the beast looked astoundingly realistic.
The cast is great. Radha Mitchell’s accent seems a bit over the top, but as the tour guide of the unlucky group she’s perfect. Sam Worthington and Stephen Curry are great as fellow Aussies whilst Michael Vartan fills the traditional ‘we need an American in this movie in order for Americans to watch it’ role. Most importantly, John Jarratt, who left such an impression with Wolf Creek, is nigh unrecognisable in a smaller role here, which is testament to his talent.
It’s the final twenty minutes or so where Mclean’s talent truly shines. Almost completely devoid of dialogue, the extended sequence is a textbook example of suspense and release. I don’t think any of it featured in the trailer, and it was a fantastic surprise.
Rogue doesn’t take us anywhere new, but sits comfortably within a well-worn formula. It is eminently enjoyable, however, and definitely one of the best of its kind. Great fun.Rating: