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Sewer Gators review

Posted in Buckners reviews by Neal at 04:31, May 23 2022

Sewer Gators (2022) – a feature film review by Andrew Buckner

After a bloodthirsty alligator attacks an innocent and unsuspecting citizen while sitting on the toilet at home in a small southern Louisiana town, a local sheriff and a group of animal experts try to solve the criminal case. One-by-one, related incidents quickly accumulate throughout the area. With the impending and appropriately titled Gator Festival on the horizon, which is presumed to bring about a lot of people and interest to the vicinity, regional authorities refuse to stop the gathering. Thus, mounting pressure is put on these skilled individuals to dispose of the creatures responsible for these violent acts as quickly as possible.

In Sewer Gators (2022), writer-director Paul Dale fully leans into the numerous low-budget charms brought forth by this promising premise. His approach to the material is unapologetically tongue-in-cheek and uproarious. This is immediately perceptible in the terrifically compelling four-minute opening sequence where the inciting assault occurs. This quality is just as evident in the engaging and hysterical commencing credits arrangement. It is crammed with successful sight gags involving various pre-film warnings and reassurances to viewers. This brand of effective meta humor is smartly reiterated by the game, in-on-the-joke performances from the entire cast. It includes Dale as Brock Peterson, Kenny Bellau as Mitchell, and Manon Pages as Laura Andrews. This is also visible in the nine-minute concluding credits segment. Herein, spectators witness side-slapping rants from a right-wing radio conspiracy theorist. This is while he attempts to capitalize on the problems brought forth by these ravenous critters from the drain. The outtakes interwoven with these moments are equally enjoyable.

Another power of the project is its incredibly efficient 61-minute runtime. In turn, the brisk pace of the piece is perfect. Every scene precisely affects the narrative and the sufficiently developed, if deliberately stock, characters. The exercise lovingly spoofs the “nature run amok” sub-genre of horror in a manner that recalls VHS and drive-in features from the 1980’s. Still, the length of the fabrication calls to mind a great many B-movies from the 1950’s. These factors add to the magnificent delight and personal appeal erected by the undertaking. The plot points that slyly mirror Jaws (1975), enchantingly low-tech effects, and the decision to frequently showcase the gators off-screen, especially in the initial half of the flick, enhance the classic monster picture modus of the endeavor.

What also elevates the already high level of entertainment that courses throughout the vehicle is the imaginative, varied, and stylish way with which the many reptile strikes are handled. Given their method of assault, the photoplay could’ve easily become rote in this department. Nonetheless, the verve Dale amends these instances via his deft guidance of the design is consistently fresh. As he does with so many other elements of the creation, these bits are often milked for comedic effect. There is even a freeze-framed facial expression from one of the victims during such a confrontation that is pure 1970’s schlock. The repeated morsels from the perspective of the gator as the entity crawls through the pipe is another one of the ingredients which make these fragments work so well.

A Paul Dale Films release, the venture incorporates music that is wonderfully goofy. From the folksy, exposition-filled number that is heard during the starting acknowledgments to the rock-oriented article that thunders over the soundtrack during the beginning of the final cast tributes, this arena is a steady strength for the effort. It is as comically amusing as it is off-the-wall. In short, it beautifully compliments the tone of the tale.

The screenplay from Dale is clever. From the dialogue to the situations it evokes, the script always slants the story with a self-aware wink at the audience. Furthermore, the cinematography is straightforward but satisfying. Benefitting from some nice exterior shots of the surroundings, it organically accentuates the distinct allure of the composition. The superb sound, costumes, and sets follow suit.

Sewer Gators is sheer joy. It pleasantly aligns itself to such endlessly rewatchable gems as Sompote Sands’ Crocodile (1979) and Lewis Teague’s Alligator (1980). The affair is unassuming, unpretentious fun from the first shot to the last. It is limited in its gore and intentionally formulaic in its chain of events. Regardless, it does little to diminish the exhilarating impact of Dale’s gloriously zany homage.

Sewer Gators receives **** out of ***** on The Buckner Scale.

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