Rogue is very much your typical horror fare. It is as formulaic as any other crocodile thriller, but it is expected that as an Aussie production patriotic Australian citizens are more likely to appreciate it. While support for Australian genre cinema is worth encouraging, support for more original cinema from any culture is worth greater preferential treatment. And Rogue is not a film which is up to any standard of originality, nor does it try to be.
The film follows standard horror formula at a predictable path from start to finish with no surprises along the way. The concern for writing in the film is obviously minimal, and as a result there are no characters worth caring about and nothing interesting for any of them to say. If the film embraced its Aussie gimmicks more then there could have been a stronger sense of humour in the dialogue, but since this film about a killer crocodile is so bent on taking itself seriously the film loses much of its fun potential in the process. Understandably Greg McLean would have wanted audiences to be scared rather than laughing, but since he follows such a simplistic formula the lack of gimmicks outside of the general crocodile theme means that any time the one-dimensional characters start talking it is little more than an excuse to prolong the running time of the film. It doesn't push on for too long, but it doesn't make a sufficient impression with what time it does have.
It's clear that Rogue is a film aimed at genre fans, many of whom are likely to appreciate the old-fashioned style of the film and its simple nature. But even then it can be a little too dull at many times. Shamelessly standing as the Australian crocodile equivalent of Steven Spielberg's Jaws (1975), Rogue depicts its characters ending up trapped ove a different body of water as they are stalked by a killer creature of the deep. There are more characters but less character development, and a greater focus on killing but far less intensity. Nevertheless, Rogue is still a competently made film. Greg McLean ties the film together with the strong sense of style which ensures that the story is a believable one. How the budget ended up stretching to a total of $26.9 million is beyond me given that the film was clearly shot in few settings and only used visual effects sparingly, but its still worth appreciating that the film is a nice one to look at. The scenery for the film perfectly captures both the beauty of the Australian wilderness and the dangers of it while the cinematography manages to position itself well-enough to give audiences a sense of the characters' perspective on everything. And when it comes to the actual animation of the crocodile, the visual effects are fairly good. They aren't of any groundbreaking standard, but they're certainly far higher than the standard of any horror film produced by The Asylum. Visual effects are used very sparingly in the film as Greg McLean follows the Jaws technique of building horror from something which is rarely seen. The combination of this technique with the use of music and sound editing ensures that there are certainly some atmospheric moments across the film. Even if Rogue may not offer much as a narrative, it nevertheless reminds us that Greg McLean's specialty definitely lies within the horror genre.
John Jarratt is a most welcome presence in Rogue. Given the fact that his last collaboration with Greg McLean was on the iconic Australian horror film Wolf Creek (2005), a second collaboration with the two is nothing short of fan service. Yet interestingly enough, John Jarratt plays such a different character this time that he is difficult to recognize. But for viewers who notice the man and know of his past in the Australian entertainment industry it is tasteful to see him in a far more restrained and vulnerable role. He is as much a stock character as everyone around him, but the fact that it is John Jarratt elevates it to a higher standard of entertainment.
But the standout actor is definetely Stephen Curry. The actor only has a supporting role in the film, but since he is predominantly known for his role in comedies such as the Australian classic The Castle (1997), seeing him in a far more serious role is a welcome experience. The man still carries comedic undertones to the character based on his very stereotypically Australian nature, but they never interfere with the serious nature of the rest of the film. And audiences should also get a kick out of seeing a young Sam Worthington in a time when he was just shy of getting his international breakout role in Terminator Salvation (2009). He is in typical Aussie form in Rogue and plays the part with a carefree nature in the beginning before transitioning it into a far more serious figure as the story goes into its more intense territory. Mia Wasikowska's pre-stardom presence elicits a similar sense of nostalgia.
As the lead, Radha Mitchell delivers a professional effort where she remains strictly focused on embracing the intense nature of the story and bringing it out of her character without overacting in the process. She manages to appropriately mediate her sense of terror and determination, bringing a likable performance to the table. And Michael Vartan manages to step it up for Rogue as he begins as a typically frightened stock character before progressively developing his intensity to the point of becoming the hero that the story needs. His bold battle with the antagonistic shark manages to provide the film with a strong and memorable climax.
Rogue boasts a talented cast and Greg McLean's typically assured direction, but the shamelessly formulaic nature of the story coupled with its one-dimensional stock characters and predictable nature leave it as a sporadically entertaining yet mostly slow horror film which is rudimentary as a whole.
This one's like lake placid on steroids.
I recommend this to anyone who enjoys a good creature feature
Crocodile not so realistic and some parts towards end a bit silly, but overall it was not a bad film.