Synopsis: A horde of giant hungry alligators is unleashed on a group of in-transit prisoners and their guards after a massive hurricane floods Louisiana.
Stars: Casper Van Dien, Nicky Whelan, Louis Mandylor, Devanny Pinn, Ryan Francis, Randy Wayne, Kim DeLonghi
Director: Brandon Slagle
Running Length: 91 minutes
TMMM Score: (2/10)
Review: Everything has its season; everything has its time. Now that low-budget movie studios and quick-buck producers have rampaged through giant shark movies (The Black Demon, Maneater, The Reef: Stalked, The Requin, Great White), they’ve turned their attention to other gnarly creatures for their cheap-o pictures. With easy-to-thrill audiences eager to gobble them up, what’s to stop them from churning out chum from the bottom of the bucket like the latest exercise in mediocrity, The Flood? Here is another case of a production that, ahem, bites off more than it ever could hope to chew. Instead of focusing on one thing and doing it well, it manages to muck up every thread it dangles in front of us.
Here’s a positive I will give it: screenwriters Chad Law and Josh Ridgway might not have the most compelling dialogue you’ve heard in a creature feature, but their premise holds much promise at the outset. A Louisiana hurricane has pummeled rain down on the state, forcing the already high waters to rise further and bringing in a pack of hungry alligators overjoyed at the prospect of tasty new treats. Trying to avoid the worst of the flood, a prison transport carrying a bunch of bad dudes needs to pull over for the night and wait out the rain, and as luck would have it, a small police station run by Sheriff Jo (Nicky Whelan, The Wedding Ringer) is directly ahead.
If Law and Ridgway had stopped their story construct here and let the night play out, with the prisoners and law enforcement needing to work together to outwit the alligators that eventually infiltrate the waterlogged jailhouse, The Flood might have fared better. Too bad that they had to go and add in another batch of body parts in the form of a crew led by Louis Mandylor (My Big Fat Greek Wedding 2) sent to extract prisoner Russell Cody (Casper Van Dien, Alita: Battle Angel) because all that does is add more unnecessary testosterone, bad acting, and lousy effects to the blessedly short flick. The complications these extra bodies provide don’t further the story in any intelligent way, either.
While the opening of The Flood creates a rather fine mood and a rap sheet introduction to each of the surly prisoners hints at some style from director Brandon Slagle, it all floats out the window when the CGI gators show up. Looking either normal-sized when they need to hide underwater when sneaking up on their prey or humungous as they perform impressive feats of reptilian strength (I never knew an alligator could jump that high!), so little effort has been put into what are arguably the stars of the show that it does make you pause and wonder why these movies are made in the first place. If you aren’t going to spend the cash to make your monster look scary and believable, what are you doing?
Whelan and Van Dien are regulars in these low-budget schlock fests, so they appear to know the drill, or at least how to step out of the way of what will be CGI-ed in later. Whelan feels like an actress that could be doing better for herself than these types of films if only she were given a chance, but for now, she’s content being the most appealing and forgivable star on screen. The rest of the cast in The Flood are so indistinguishable from one another that they might as well all have shirts on that say Gator Grub. Special shout out to the one actor (I won’t say who) who hilariously tries to work some Louisiana Gator wrestling moves on the big one that eventually chomps him to bits.
Are we in for more Gator bait films in the future? I can’t imagine this will be the only one since once one a special effects company gets going with a particular scary-something, they churn out numerous projects simultaneously. I hope future films learn a lesson from The Flood and keep their storyline more streamlined, cutting out the extraneous meat that doesn’t digest so well. Sometimes in a creature feature, it’s OK to make the beast the only bad guy to worry about.