Killer crocs are on everyone’s minds as we enter hurricane season and the creature movie of the summer is due out this week. From writer/director Alexandre Aja who led the reboot of The Hills Have Eyes, the fantastic gorefest High Tension, and who is no stranger to waterlogged creature films in Piranha 3D, comes Crawl. Granted Horns and High Tension were far superior to Piranha 3D which was less than awesome, but it wasn’t the carnivorous fish’s fault. Aja has an extensive list of inventive horror movies that are all as diverse as they are risky. He is certainly not afraid to take a chance on a smart script, strange monster, or bloody survivor story. Crawl, premiering Thursday, is just that kind of odd mashup of home invasion movie meets uncontrollable mutant animals. Think Don’t Breathe meets Deep Blue Sea. It sounds wacky, but early footage looks very promising. Before the giant gators get their chompers on us here is our list of the best reptilian reekers of havoc.
10. Blood Surf
A sleazy producer (Joel West) develops a concept he dubs “blood surfing” — tossing bloody fish remains into the water to lure sharks and then surfing through the animals as they chomp about. Along with his camerawoman (Kate Fischer), the producer brings two thrill-seeking surfers (Dax Miller, Matt Borlenghi) to the coast of Florida to capture some gnarly footage. But, as they blood surf, they encounter something even more deadly: a colossal prehistoric crocodile intent on devouring them.
It’s reality television taken to its inevitable conclusion with the creatures in question taking a bite out of the annoying stars. Before you watch this make sure you go in thinking it’s a parody of movies like it because you will enjoy the movie a lot more. There is plenty of blood and nudity so it has that going for it.
A herpetologist (Robin Riker) helps a detective (Robert Forster) track her flushed-away pet, now a king-size mutant called Ramone.
Another animal movie that is more comedy than horror. It’s funny and the effects are quite serviceable. This is a short film at only 94 minutes so even if you hate it, you won’t waste much time.
There is always something bloodthirsty lurking in the Louisiana Bayou. However, there has never, ever, been anything like this. A pack of massive, genetically engineered flesh-eating fish are combing the quiet waters of the river, searching for prey.
It’s so bad it’s good. There is nothing serious about this movie and that is just fine by me. If you are looking for a good time that has the kind of aquatic monster you have never seen before give this ridiculous horror/comedy a try.
7. Black Water
A pregnant woman, her boyfriend and her sister take a boat tour of a mangrove swamp, where they are terrorized by a killer crocodile.
This is scary because of the realism the directors Andrew Traucki and David Nerlich bring to the small budget film. This is as close to the real deal as you will ever see. These gators are terrifying without huge special effects and massive piles of cash. That is the power of a good story, and interesting camera shots.
6. Eaten Alive
Deep in the swamps of Louisiana, disfigured psychotic Judd (Neville Brand) manages a sleazy, decaying motel. Upon learning that one of his guests is a prostitute, he promptly impales her with a pitchfork and tosses her to the crocodile that stalks the nearby waters. This is just the first in a series of slayings, and, as the croc’s belly begins to bulge with victims, people grow suspicious. Outsiders begin to poke around the motel, but Judd simply sees them as more treats for his pet.
If for nothing else, you should watch this because Tobe Hooper commands respect and curiosity. It isn’t as good as Texas Chainsaw Massacre obviously but it is really creepy and Neville Brand is unbelievably weird. It is hard to tell if the croc or the psychopath are scarier, luckily this film has both. Scratch that, backwoods creepos win every time.
5. Jurassic World
Located off the coast of Costa Rica, the Jurassic World luxury resort provides a habitat for an array of genetically engineered dinosaurs, including the vicious and intelligent Indominus rex. When the massive creature escapes, it sets off a chain reaction that causes the other dinos to run amok. Now, it’s up to a former military man and animal expert (Chris Pratt) to use his special skills to save two young brothers and the rest of the tourists from an all-out, prehistoric assault.
Technically, this is an archosaur(water dwelling reptiles during dino days), and the Mosasaurus in question saves the day by eating Indominus Rex. He did eat a bunch of people beforehand and after in Jurassic World Fallen Kingdom, so he has a respectable kill count. He is an impressively huge beast, and with Universal Studios Hollywood opening the revamped Jurassic World ride featuring a Mosasaur at the beginning I had to include this reboot on the list.
4. The Hatching
Years ago, an English village was the site of a tragic accident when three school boys stole crocodile eggs from a nearby zoo. Now, one of the culprits has returned to find his village that is being terrorized by fully-grown man-eaters.
From the novel series of the same name by authors Ezekiel Boone and George Newbern, this is actually a pretty scary movie and an even better read. The production is excellent and the acting is fantastic. Watch it but more importantly read it.
Veteran reporter Tim Manfrey (Dominic Purcell) lands possibly the worst assignment of his life: Travel to the African country of Burundi to locate and capture the world’s largest crocodile. Dubbed “Gustave” by the villagers, the croc is said to have dined on hundreds of humans over the years. Complicating matters is an African warlord who is even more bloodthirsty than the giant reptile.
I have a serious thing for Orlando Jones, he is unbelievable in Starz adaptation of Neil Gaiman’s American Gods. This is another inspired by true events stories that says far more about the terrible nature of humans than horrendously bitey crocodiles. It nonetheless is slickly produced and easily has enough actual terror to warrant a watch.
Rugged American adventure-travel journalist Pete McKell (Michael Vartan) joins a cruise along a crocodile-infested river organized by tomboyish guide Kate Ryan (Radha Mitchell). As if dealing with their fellow travelers — including obnoxious wannabe photographer Simon (Stephen Curry) and bratty British teen Sherry (Mia Wasikowska) — wasn’t enough aggravation, soon Pete and Kate must match wits against an enormous 25-foot croc that seems cleverer than most.
Rogue and Primeval both came out in the same year which was unfortunate for both movies. Rogue is the superior of the two, but both are worth a watch. The cast of Rogue is very talented, but the star of the show is the technical design and direction of the beast. The crocodile is very realistic and smartly shot to enhance the suspense. A creature film that delivers scares clear through to the end.
1. Lake Placid
When a mysterious creature violently kills a man in a Maine lake, Jack Wells (Bill Pullman), the local game warden, looks into the bizarre case, along with Sheriff Hank Keough (Brendan Gleeson) and visiting paleontologist Kelly Scott (Bridget Fonda). Looking for clues in a tooth that the beast left behind, Kelly and the others eventually locate the monster, a massive and vicious reptile eager to devour anything in its path. Can the crocodile-like creature be stopped?
My favorite killer reptile movie of all time is also my favorite creature film ever. It is the perfect blend of fear and humor with more than enough jump scares and unexpected moments. This is a great movie that has held up over time and the sublime Betty White is a delight. Bill Pullman(The Sinner) pulls more than his weight, and Oliver Platt does what he does best…quirky/smart guy. This is a must-see for anyone who loves Ms. White or creature movies.
Get to watching there are only a few days left until Crawl hits theaters. Watch for our full review this weekend and in the meantime stay away from the swamps, stop flushing those babies from the pet store, and don’t feed the lake gators.
As the Managing Editor for Signal Horizon, I love watching and writing about genre entertainment. I grew up with old-school slashers, but my real passion is television and all things weird and ambiguous. My work can be found here and Travel Weird, where I am the Editor in Chief.