Roger Corman’s DINOCROC is a true b-movie in the grand tradition of atomic age monster movies. And make no mistake about it; this is an old-fashioned creature feature and not a typical nature gone amok/killer animal movie. The Dinocroc may be a prehistoric Supercroc but gene manipulation has evolved it into a two-legged dinosaur-like creature that makes for a pretty cool movie monster. The film clocks in at a scant 82 minutes (plus almost another 4 minutes of needlessly long end credits to pad out the running time) zipping along at a breezy pace without getting too bogged down with lots of boring exposition, moralizing, etc. The movie doesn’t give you much time to think about what’s going on but then there isn’t a whole lot to think about. Not to say that the movie is completely mindless but that it is simply a straightforward monster movie, nothing more, nothing less. Yes, the plot is flimsy and the characters are mostly one-dimensional yet it still has a likeability factor and sense of fun that helps you to overlook its shortcomings. Each of the primary characters has a purpose for being there and their chemistry playing off of one another helps gloss over the fact that they don’t have much depth to them outside of the position they fill in the story. The fact that they didn’t get on my nerves by being annoying as hell or by constantly doing incredibly stupid things as characters in so many horror movies of today tend to do, especially the low budget variety, is also a major plus. The movie also has one of the best kills I’ve seen in a movie in quite some time and it happens to a character that I didn’t think was going to get it especially in such a brutal fashion. That scene alone was worth it. And kudos to whomever came up with the idea to use a score that sounds more appropriate to a supernatural horror movie than a rampaging reptile monster movie. It enhances the cheese quotient considerably.
What can I say about the Dinocroc itself other than it’s a pretty spiffy looking monster? At times it seemed very reminiscent of the abomination that was the Tristar Godzilla but the Dinocroc is actually a much more fearsome looking beast what with teeth outside of and on top of its mouth and this constant mad dog gleam in its eyes. For a low budget monster movie the CGI was actually pretty darn good. Even at it’s worst it isn’t bad enough to completely take you out of the movie unless you’re just a stickler for computer effects. Much of the CGI is actually on par with or better than that found in some movies with astronomically higher budgets like say THE MUMMY RETURNS and I suspect Dinocroc’s budget was probably only slightly more than the amount spent on that film for Brendan Fraser’s hair. I’ve read that Corman already has a sequel in the planning stages. If so, I hope they give it a bit higher budget and allow the Dinocroc a bit more interaction with the characters next time other than jumping out and going `Rahr!’ every so often as it does for most of the movie. The biggest drawback to this movie’s low budget was lack of screentime for the monster. I wanted more Dinocroc action.
With one more rewrite and a little more budget I think DINOCROC could have been a great monster movie but it will just have to settle for being a fun guilty pleasure and there’s nothing wrong with that. There are far worse ways to spend 86 minutes. Heck, I’ll take this over CARNOSAUR any day of the week.