Black Water,
directed by David Nerlich & Andrew Traucki
(Sony, 2007)

directed by Greg McLean
(Dimension, 2007)

Black Water and Rogue both came out of Australia in the same year, and both have similar storylines: Tourists take a boat tour of croc-infested waters, and both trips end badly after a crocodile decides to sample the buffet. Both movies are loosely based on true stories, although there's much more fiction at work here than fact in both cases.

In Black Water, Grace (Diana Glenn) goes on an excursion with her boyfriend Adam (Andy Rodoreda) and her sister Lee (Maeve Dermody) in a small boat piloted by Jim (Ben Oxenbould). A croc attacks, stranding them far from civilization, and picks them off one by one.

In Rogue, American travel writer Pete McKell (Michael Vartan) goes on an excursion with a random assortment of tourists in a slightly larger boat piloted by Kate Ryan (Radha Mitchell). A croc attacks, stranding them far from civilization, and picks them off one by one.

Yes, the plots are very similar, although the execution is fairly different. (Rogue had a substantially larger budget to work with, as might be surmised by the size of its cast, the sumptuous travelogue videography and the fact that its characters got last names.)

Both films are pretty good, however, if you like this sort of nature-gone-wild sort of thing. Black Water moves at a slower pace, but it also is more successful at building tension. Rogue has better acting overall -- and better croc effects -- although the ending wanders a little astray.

Creature features aren't my usual cup of tea, cinematically speaking, but I enjoy the occasional feeding frenzy as much as the next person. Both of these croc films proved to be an entertaining diversion, which is all I was looking for.

That said, if I ever find myself in Australia I highly doubt I will be persuaded to take a boat tour of croc-infested waters. That shit will kill you.

review by
Tom Knapp

8 July 2017

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