The SyFy Channel keeps making em, and I’m a pretty lazy reviewer, so this relationship between us could continue for ever. They’re weirdly schizophrenic, these films – are we supposed to accept them as low-budget action / thriller films, or as wink-wink comedies where we’re all laughing along together? They tend to fall somewhere between the two stools, but how did “Ragin Cajun Redneck Gators” fare?
First and foremost, the accents in this film suck. It’s set somewhere in the Louisiana bayou, so there’s lots of that Cajun accent (it’s not just a clever title). But there’s also a lot of “stereotypical redneck” and a few big-city accents too. If I can spot your bad accents, then you know they’re bad. Two of the people who don’t even really try accents are Jordan Hinson (the daughter from SyFy show “Eureka”), playing returning-from-college Avery Doucette, and Victor Webster (the star of “Mutant X” and Hunky McMancop from “Continuum”) although, to be fair, he does have the excuse of playing a Steve Irwin type in this film and not being from the area.
This film is about two feuding families, the Doucettes and the Robichauds. Avery, despite having been away at college for four years and never popping home for a visit, immediately resumes her relationship with Dathan Robichaud, and this causes all sorts of shenanigans. The Robichauds are making moonshine, which, because of a new chemical they’re using in the process, is blue (a bit of a reference to the amazing “Breaking Bad” and its blue meth, I think). They also really suck at making it, because they’re forever tipping their spoiled batches into the bayou, and wouldn’t you just know it? The moonshine is causing the alligators to mutate.
As well as literally having red necks, they can fire one of the “quills” from their tail and are bigger than the average. Their bite also has an unusual effect on anyone who survives it…
Too many of the characters just don’t seem like remotely real people, they seem like employees of the “Redneck Theme Park”. The patriarch of the Doucette clan talks entirely in old-timey sayings; one of the Robichaud boys is a toothless grinning moron who carries a banjo (!); and the rest of them aren’t much better. It’s not so much lazy stereotyping, as lazy, pointless, moderately offensive stereotyping.
The female sheriff puts gender equality back a few decades when she panics in absolutely ludicrous fashion when confronted by a redneck gator – even if it’s really big, you’d have to assume she’d have seen big alligators before, and one of the people we’re sort-of supposed to be cheering on throws a dog to a gator to give them the chance to run away (this was the moment my wife went from indifference to hatred of this film).
The only moderately worthwhile bit of the film is Victor Webster’s introduction as “The Gator Whisperer”. He’s part Steve Irwin, part every character who’s ever been on “Duck Dynasty” or one of the other bayou-based reality shows that are all over US TV at the moment. I’ve never thought of him as an amazing actor, but he shows everyone else in the cast up comfortably, and makes his character’s relatively brief screen time count.
The computer programme the filmmakers used clearly only had one template for gator, as every single one of them in this film looked exactly identical. I didn’t come into the film expecting mega-CGI, but even so, they could have tried a bit harder. Towards the end, one of the characters goes “When I wake up, I want none of this to be true” to which I replied sadly, “me too, mate, me too”.
Anyway, this film commits the cardinal sin of cheap monster movies – it’s boring. Twists are signposted a mile away, the ending is pathetic, the acting is mostly garbage and the central romance is unbelievable, goes nowhere and just drags the film out.
There’s no reason why films like this have to be boring, though. SyFy Channel clearly have a business model that works, where you have a wacky title, and the advertisers buy enough space for them to make a bit of a profit (plus DVD sales for any hits like “Sharknado”). They could be operating a system like Roger Corman did in the 60s and 70s, where he gave all sorts of new directors and writers the chance to do pretty much whatever they wanted, budget notwithstanding. The people funding these films clearly don’t give two hoots whether the films are any good or not, so why not give the filmmakers the chance to make something genuinely interesting? Instead, we get instalment 735 in the “boring SyFy Channel movie” series, slow, dull, barely worth my effort to review and absolutely not worth your effort to watch.