Tuesday, July 11, 2023

The Flood: Gators Attack

Alligator really does taste a bit like chicken. It is chewier, but delicious when prepared well. Unfortunately, gators think people also taste like chicken and they are bigger, faster, and hungrier. During a hurricane-flash flood, an isolated group of cops and convicts find themselves on the menu in Brandon Slagle’s The Flood, which opens Friday in New York.

A Katrina-like storm is surging around Sheriff Jo Newman’s station, so she reluctantly agrees to put up a detoured prison transport for the night. That means Rafe Calderon’s plans also change. His gang’s former getaway driver, Russell Cody was convicted of the cop-killings during their last job, but not before he hid the money.

Cody is less than thrilled to see his old comrades, but everyone will have to work together when a pack of angry alligators swims into the flooded station. Of course, they won’t, but Cody consistently throws his chips in with Sheriff Newman, rather than Calderon’s crew or his fellow convicts.

The Flood
is sort of Rio Bravo with gators, which is a reasonably promising premise to start with. Slagle certainly does not over-complicate it. It is a crying shame the soundtrack totally lacks any jazz, blues, or zydeco selections, but it still feels like a Louisiana kind of film—even though it was shot abroad, presumably for economic reasons.

Casper Van Dien, Nicky Whelan, and Louis Mandylor are all pros at this kind of unfussy action filmmaking by now, so they credibly get down to business as Cody, Newman, and Calderon. As in Slagle’s
Battle for Saipan, Eoin O’Brien is the surprise standout, doing a not-half-bad Cajun accent as the other reasonable prisoner, “Big Jim” Pruett.

The gators are CGI, but the Slagle usually films them partially submerged in flood water, which is a shrewd strategy. They look okay if you are not watching too closely. The station setting is reasonably effective and Thailand apparently delivered plenty of rain for the exterior shots.

The Flood is rather amusing in a meathead kind of way. It is certainly better than a lot of recent “major studio releases.” There are no lectures about gender theory or whatever, just gators looking to feed. Recommended as an honest, grind-it-out B-movie when it hits free streamers (the wait shouldn’t be too long), The Flood opens Friday (7/14) at the Cinema Village and also releases on-demand.