Crocodile (1979) Blu-ray Review
Synapse Films

In 1975, Jaws changed the way we look at the water, and its influence is still heavily felt in modern horror cinema and forever will be. With that pedigree, countless imitators would sprout about every few years since its release. Some are better than others, and different wild beasts would be used, but the formula would remain the same.

One rather interesting film is 1979’s Crocodile, a Thai import re-edited and dubbed in English. It plays out somewhere between Jaws and Jaws: The Revenge (1987). Being ultra-low budget is part of the charm, but something about it has elevated it to cult status, regardless of how good or bad it may be. Synapse Films has released a standard edition of the film, and once again, they’ve truly outdone themselves.

A young doctor and his medic friend take their families on a getaway to get some sun and swim in the ocean. What they don’t expect is to lose them when they’re attacked by a giant crocodile. Overcome with grief, they channel it into anger and decide they’re not going to let it continue its reign of terror. They enlist the aid of a seasoned fisherman, and the trio sets out to find the beast and put it down once and for all.

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The budget may be low, but they use their resources to the best of their abilities. There’s a combination of miniatures and a croc puppet, but how everything is used just works. The glowing red eyes moving through the water before attacking is a fantastic and effective touch.

Despite the dubbing, which I’m never a fan of, you still get a sense of these men’s pain and lust for revenge towards the beast. It doesn’t always work; some of the cinematography leaves you scratching your head, as does some of the editing. Still, it’s something I’d revisit under the right circumstances. The transfer is fabulous, and I found many moments quite exhilarating due to the clarity and the brash colors. I wouldn’t say it’s a good film, but it’s more of an interesting curiosity with addictive energy.

There are quite a few special features included on the disc, like an audio commentary with writer and film historian Lee Gambin, an interview with original Crocodile Fangs director Won-se Lee, trailers, and deleted and alternate scenes.

The team at Synapse is the best at what they do, and they’ve given us a reason to revisit this film and look at it in a different light.

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