Monday, August 4, 2014

Frogs Movie Review: If you're squeamish, don't worry

Runtime: 91 minutes
Release Date: March 10, 1972
Rating: PG
Director: George McCowan

Pickett Smith, who I absolutely did not realize was Sam Elliott, is a photographer working on taking pictures of animals and nature. While working in a canoe in the swamp, siblings Clint and Karen speed by in their boat, which causes his canoe to tip over. After snapping at them about losing his work, Clint offers to replace all his damaged equipment. They take Pickett back to their family home, which is the Crockett Estate on an island nearby.

There, he meets the head of the family. Jason is stuck in a wheelchair and doesn't seem too happy. Though he wants to celebrate the Fourth of July and encourages Pickett to remain for the festivities, he can't stop complaining about the snakes and frogs living near the house. He sends one of his workers out to use some pesticides to kill the animals. Pickett finds the man's dead body and notices that he's covered in snake bites, but despite learning of the problem, Jason decides to push forward.

You know exactly where this is going. As they start planning for the holiday, amphibians keep flocking to the island and killing everyone in new and not so interesting ways.

Frogs is a film that I added to my Netflix queue when I went through a "killer animals" phase last year. There's a good chance that the movie's been in there since I had an account 6-7 years ago too. When I noticed some of those older movies expiring, I decided to take some time to watch some of the older horror movies before they disappeared too. Frogs was the first one on my list, and if it's any indication of what might come, it's probably time to weed out my queue.

Frogs is easily one of the worst movies I've seen. It wasn't one of those "so bad it's funny movies" either. My roommate and I giggled once or twice, but for the most part, we just kept checking how much time was left. At one point, he even begged me to just shut off the movie or move on to something else. I persevered and got through the movie but it's probably not something I should brag about.

This came out at a time when directors mixed existing footage with new footage to make a film. While that sometimes works in the right way or the funny way, it didn't work here. You get multiple scenes of frogs, snakes, and crocodiles moving through the wild before seeing someone thrashing around on the ground and screaming in pain or mock horror.

The one funny moment came when a man was attacked by a crocodile. The way he was rolling around in the water made us laugh and contemplate whether he was fighting or playing with it. This was one of the smaller crocodiles, and the way he kept looping his arm around it and dragging it around make it look like the poor thing just wanted to escape the bad movie.

If there's one reason to see the movie, it's for Joan Van Ark. Given the frightening way she looks today, it was kind of fun to see her back when she looked normal and even pretty.

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