Color, 2000, 92m. / Directed by Tobe Hooper / Starring Caitlin Martin, Harrison Young / Trimark (US R1 NTSC) / WS (1.85:1) / DD2.0

Tobe Hooper's Crocodile is a film so completely awful, so misguided and catastrophically painful, it really makes you wonder how bad something has to be before a studio decides to leave it on the shelf where it can't do any more harm. Apparently Hooper was the logical directing choice for this monster mash manqué because, well, he did the killer croc routine before in Eaten Alive, and if it kind of worked once... Alas, even those bemoaning the latest postmodern teen slasher flick will run for cover from this one, which makes Lake Placid and Anaconda look like models of rich characterization and clever plotting in comparison. The plot concerns... uh, well... there are these obnoxious, brain dead college students, though how they stumbled into any US institution of learning is never explained. Taking time out from chasing each other and partying to awful pop tunes on their trawler, they stomp through the marshy wilderness, float around on inner tubes, and accidentally wreck a nest of croc eggs. Naturally the CGI crocodile isn't happy and starts wreaking sleep inducing, computer-generated mayhem, despite the noble efforts of the yokel croc raiser and the police. People scream. People run. And that's about it. While even the lowest Z-grade monster movies usually possess some degree of charm, Crocodile seems determined to alienate its fan base from the opening scene by throwing in vapid, aggressively irritating characters, acted with the absolute minimum of charm by an indifferent cast. If you're brave enough to tackle this film, keep a couple of six packs handy to dull the pain and watch it with some friends who can at least heckle the crocodile. The DVD from Trimark looks appropriately glossy and reminiscent of a music video, which isn't necessarily such a good thing. Ditto for the surround audio, which pumps tunes from the rear speakers without making much of an impression.

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