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Not the Jet Li, Jason Statham Thriller
Michael Varta Stars in the Horror/Thriller "Rogue".
OPENING WEEKEND: $10,000,000
DOMESTIC TOTAL: $33,000,000
OTHER PREVIEWS: Alatriste (7/10)
  This Film is NOT a Future Release.
  The Following Preview has been Archived.

August 30th, 2006: While doing his latest piece, a cynical American travel writer named Pete (Michael Vartan) joins a group of tourists on a river cruise in the Australian Outback. His personality immediately clashes with the feisty female tour captain named Kate (Radha Mitchell), who regards him with a fair amount of disdain. As their uneventful cruise winds to a close, Kate is reluctantly persuaded to venture out into unexplored territory. The detour leads to a discovery of a secluded lake, but it also leads to disaster when something strikes the boat from below, causing it to start sinking. Kate is forced to evacuate everyone on a tiny mud island. As darkness approaches, so does the tide, and the group realizes that the dry bit of land provides only a temporary refuge. True panic strikes when everyone discovers that they are actually in the heart of a terrifying, man-eating crocodile’s lair. Pete and Kate find themselves working together and motivating the group to attempt a daring escape.

What to Expect: For his sophomore effort, writer-director Greg McLean returns to the same Australian Outback where he found moderate success with his disturbingly shocking horror flick, Wolf Creek. The film and its gruesome and often misogynistic content was anything but moderate, but it certainly made its impact on the nation’s critics, splitting them into two groups: those who admired its relentlessly dreadful quality and subsequent effectiveness as a horror film and those who had to fight their disgust in order to stay in their seats to finish the screening. Still, both sides pointed to the director’s talent. The latter group simply felt that he was wasting it. The Weinsteins clearly saw potential as they jumped at the opportunity to finance McLean’s second feature.

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Supposedly, McLean wrote the script for Rogue ten years ago and initially saw Christian Slater as the lead. The movie was filmed earlier this year in the northern Australian territories where much of Crocodile Dundee was shot. It also shared a filming site with Charlotte’s Web, which is scheduled to hit theaters this December. Perhaps some of the friendly atmosphere from the family feature has rubbed off on McLean and will help him find a lighter tone, unlike the sickening climate of Wolf Creek. Odds are that McLean will cut back quite a bit for Rogue.

The film has an estimated budget of $20 million, which is a nice jump from the $1 million that the director had for Wolf Creek. Most of the focus is reportedly going into making the crocodile as realistic as possible. To get the desired look, McLean is blending traditional techniques with computer-generated effects. By also focusing on the croc’s behavior, the director is hoping that he’ll be able to get the animal’s frightening nature across to the audience.

Reports from an early screening suggest that the film may not turn out that gory, although at that stage the movie was not entirely finished. The relatively brief running time of 80 minutes implies that this is probably going to be a rather campy B-movie. The cast features no real Hollywood stars, just a few actors on the rise with enough sexual appeal appropriate for the task. Charmer Michael Vartan (Never Been Kissed, One Hour Photo, Monster-in-Law) looks to take on one of his biggest roles to date after being written off from the popular Jennifer Garner show “Alias.” He’ll try to step into the action hero role while providing some eye-candy for the female half of the audience. The attractive Radha Mitchell (Melinda and Melinda, Finding Neverland) continues her venture into the horror genre after finding opening weekend box-office success with Silent Hill last April. Rogue will provide her with a nice starring role in a fun genre picture sort of along the lines of her breakthrough part in Pitch Black, which was similar in character. Finally, John Jaratt, who played the psychotic killer in Wolf Creek, will make an appearance in a supporting role as one of the many diverse passengers on the cruise in the movie.

Personally, I would prefer if McLean would avoid the campy approach and would stick to something more brutal, much like Wolf Creek. I would rather see a film that sticks to creating a genuinely frightening atmosphere and doesn’t simply reflect mounting tension with silly one-liners. Otherwise, Rogue will just be another lousy Lake Placid. At least some characters in Rogue are expected to become crocodile chum unlike the characters in Lake Placid, who mostly managed to make it to the end unscathed. At any rate, a giant, man-eating crocodile is enough of a wink at the audience to let them know that the story is fantasy without having to resort to bad dialogue or implausible Hollywood-like situations. So while the bleak and oppressive atmosphere in Wolf Creek may have been disproportionate, it would be the perfect choice to achieve a genuinely terrifying tone in Rogue.

In Conclusion: This type of a film is very easy to market as it appeals to the most basic human fears and follows in the footsteps of some of the most established Hollywood formulas. There will always be an audience for this sort of a picture, no matter how bad it may be. Many of the loyal Internet followers of Snakes on a Plane were actually hoping for a terrible movie before the thriller finally hit theaters. If Rogue turns out great then it’s going to be a blast for everyone. If it turns out to be awful, then it should at least be easy to digest and may still provide the audience with just enough cheesy B-movie entertainment. Furthermore, if it fails to make an impression at the box-office, I’m sure many will end up reaching for it on DVD. It seems like a win-win situation for everyone.

Similar Titles: Lake Placid, Alligator, Piranha, Anaconda
April 25th, 2008 (wide)
August 5th, 2008 (DVD)

The Weinstein Company LLC

Greg McLean

Michael Vartan, Radha Mitchell, Stephen Curry, John Jarratt, Heather Mitchell, Mia Wasikoska, Sam Worthington, Robert Taylor

Total: 64 vote(s).

Horror, Suspense

Click here to view site

Rated R for language and some creature violence.

92 min






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