Tuesday, March 21, 2017

Dark Age, Another Aussie Killer Croc Film

One might argue that 1987's "Dark Age" is merely another Australian crocodile film, which offers nothing new.  That would be unfair.  Yeah, I do admit that much of this film may be interpreted as a cheap rip-off of "Jaws."  Entire scenes seem to be lifted out of Spielberg's expensive rip-off of "Moby Dick."  However...would you rather see a gratuitous rip-off of "Jaws" or a rip-off of "Silkwood"?  For horror fans, "Dark Age" is an interesting film which inspired many plot devices in those made-for-Syfy films.
Okay, a 25 foot Australian saltwater crocodile starts eating everyone...including a cute little aboriginal boy. An evil monster to some, but to a wise old Aborigine, Oondabund (Burnham Burnham), it is a deity.  In fact Oondabund has some sort of psychic connection to the thing.  Enter a park ranger, Steve (John Jarratt). He is in charge of monitoring the croc population and is real stupid. He will have lots of numb-skull ideas.  Also enter the beautiful anthropologist, Cathy (Nikki Coghill). She is Steve's GF and always reminds him how stupid he is and how awful he is. The chemistry between Steve and Cathy will remind you of the Diet Coke and Mento experiment. They have lots of passionate pre-marital sex, and afterwards, instead of a cigarette, she yaps to him about how he mistreats her and never wanted commitment.  We can only hope she becomes gator bait!
As tourist dollars are jeopardized, Steve and Oondabund hatch a really stupid idea...and ironically...Cathy likes it.  This will entail capturing the monster alive with tranquilizer darts.  Yeah...tranquilizer darts always work out well in these films...almost as good as Ouija boards. The croc will eat more Aussies and eventually a small reward sends every gun-toting, beer guzzling Aussie after the thing.  As the idiot Steve and his aborigine pals set out on their plan, some local-yokels grab axes, shotguns, and harpoons and follow.
Will Cathy get eaten?  Is the monster croc really a god?  Are anthropologists all hot, or is this a sexist plot device put out by B horror film makers for exploitative purposes?  Directed by Arch Nicholson, "Dark Age" has lots of kills, which we usually cheer at.  Not a masterpiece, but still better than any Meryl Streep film.

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