Trimark Home Video
Cast: Martin Kove, Heidi Noelle Lenhart, Steve Moreno, Jon Sklaroff
When it comes to satisfying, low-budget creature features, director Gary Jones delivers. From the bloody good bite of Mosquito to the creepy-crawly assault of Spiders, Jones is living proof that you don’t need a boatload of cash to create eye-popping effects or epic action sequences.
’Crocodile 2: Death Swamp’ is the director’s latest foray into the carnivorous creature genre and while all of the successful elements of Jones’ previous efforts are in place here, the film manages to disappoint on many levels.
Things literally kick off with a bang as we witness a brutal bank heist over the opening credits. Cut to: Mia Bozeman, working a flight to Mexico where her boyfriend Zack awaits. Eventually, the plane hits a nasty storm, is hijacked by the bank robbers and crashes in the middle of a swamp. As the survivors trudge through the swamp, they encounter a 30-foot crocodile with a taste for human flesh.
The bank heist and plane crash are fraught with tension and convincing visuals, alas, the remainder of the film sinks into a boggy depot of really bad acting, poor pacing and inconsistent special effects. There isn’t a single memorable performance from the cast of characters and they truly lack purpose, wandering aimlessly through the swamp, exchanging cringe-inducing lines that would make Bruce Campbell blush. It becomes crystal clear that ’Crocodile 2: Death Swamp’ is nothing more than a high-concept pitch filled with hot air. Sure, the killer croc caught me off guard a few times but its sloppy, shape-shifting appearance–ranging from a credible animatronic nightmare to a laughable CGI cartoon—ruined the mood. After embarrassing gator flops like the first ’Crocodile,’ ’Blood Surf’ and ’Lake Placid,’ you’d think someone would’ve found a way to make a convincing croc by now.
The widescreen transfer on ’Crocodile 2: Death Swamp’ is average. I noticed plenty of speckles and grain in certain areas but it never becomes too distracting. Overall, the visual presentation lacks, ahem, bite even though it is a relatively new film. Thankfully, the 5.1 Dolby Digital is aggressive and robust. From bullets whizzing overhead in the opening gun battle to the eruption of water every time the croc surfaces, you’ll experience a very active surround field. On the extras side, there’s only a poorly edited trailer.
Given the director’s flair for working with low budgets, I was expecting a lot more from ’Crocodile 2: Death Swamp.’ Sadly, the weak script and weaker acting destroy the promising set-up and creepy location. The effects are a mixed bag and with the exception of a few shining moments, fail to deliver the gory goods. There are plenty of ways to kill 90 minutes and this is not one of them. Do yourself a favor and stay far away from this stinky swamp.