Written by Old Bluffer 2nd Oct 2006
Kindly submitted by Mr. Briggs Inc.
Take a low budget creature horror with a laughable premise and ask the director to shoot it (badly) in the style of a suspenseful, thought provoking eco-thriller and you will end up with a product like "Frogs".
It is a desperately tedious film with pacing so slow I actually thought the characters would end up dying from old age, rather than from any amphibian related attack.
The front cover of the DVD is promising however, sporting the fantastic tagline of "Today the pond, tomorrow the world!" There is also an artist's impression of a frog with a woman's arm protruding from its mouth. This suggests that the frogs will be mutated monsters, capable of actually threatening human life. Crushingly though, this couldn't be further from the truth. First, there are virtually no frogs in this film, they are mostly toads (the students in charge of the camera obviously found the frogs too challenging to film and preferred the slower moving toads). Not that it matters greatly, as neither frogs nor toads would be able to cause much damage to anyone even remotely determined not to die. To get around this seeming limitation, the scriptwriter decided to make all the toads have psychic powers, through which they control an assorted menagerie of snakes, turtles, crabs, lizards, scorpions, spiders and seagulls. You will have probably just reread that sentence, but I promise you this is what happens.
Now all this might sound quite cool, but it is shot in a manner that drains any comedy value whatsoever. Deaths take so long to happen that when they do they are inevitably an anti-climax, as these animals still aren't all that dangerous if one is being careful. We therefore have deaths where some upper class twit accidently shoots himself in the leg whilst walking through the woods, allowing the toads to call in a few snakes and spiders to attack his now prone body.
Anyway, the whole film is set on the island of a rich, elderly, wheelchair-confined, nature-hating, miserable, overbearing codger called Jason Crockett. Grandpa Crockett has most of his family staying with him, for reasons that aren't important. The only thing that matters is that the house is populated by largely unlikeable minor characters and it has been established that Crockett has been systematically polluting the environment for years. This has led to some strange plague of toads who can control legions of creatures to take their vengeance out on the waste-dumping millionaire.
While a few characters barely escape from the mansion in the swamp with their lives, the stubborn Crockett patriarch is alone in his decision to stay in what will soon become his tomb.
It should be mentioned that the old coot is completely off his rocker, and has been stubbornly ignoring the fact that most of his family have been killed in various implausible ways. All he cares about is that it is his birthday and he damns the remaining occupants of his household as cowards when they flee for their lives.
Oh No! There are toads outside the window!!!
Alone, and at night, the old man is listening to a crappy record of band music while the number of toads outside steadily increases. Eventually, the toads manage to get in, and the "attack" begins.
This happens in typically slow and bizarre fashion. Toads line the bookshelves, one fat specimen appears on the turntable of the record player - thankfully putting an end to the irritating band music - and Crockett just sits helpless in his wheelchair.
He still doesn't seem overly worried (as well he shouldn't - they are only bloody toads!), until the telephone rings and nobody is on the other end. For some reason this sends him over the edge, and the scene shifts to a "Madness of Jason Crockett" sequence. His office walls are predictably filled with the stuffed heads of innocent creatures, and each one screams in anger at the old bastard who presumably hunted and killed them. Moose snort, lions roar, an antelope bleats like a sheep(!) and a fish screams in a frankly bewildering manner.
Without the sound effects these grabs sadly lose much of their hilarity...
All the while the toads croak loudly and look on in implacable judgement, and Crockett eventually has a coronary and falls from his chair. Now he is at floor height, the psychic toads are free to hop all over him - which they do. It is mildly amusing, until we remember we'll never get back the previous ninety minutes of life spent enduring this total arse-winnit of a movie.
I don't know about the toads but I was hopping mad at the quality of this movie!
As a cheap alternative to reediting and digitally remastering this pile of steaming frogspawn though, I have a brilliant suggestion for the company who owns the rights to it. All they need to do is add subtitles for the animals! Every boring scene in this film is interspersed with footage of the same snakes and lizards scuttling about in the background, with the effect of sending the audience into a deep coma. If there were subtitled dialogue in these scenes the whole film could be elevated from a 1 out of 10 production to a 4 or even possibly a 5!
I would have loved to see the toad generals plan their strategy:
"The human scum have reached the lake - deploy the seagulls!" etc etc.