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If this movie ultimately fails to be scary (and it does), it's not because the filmmakers didn't try; they did their darnedest to make those frogs look as menacing as possible. But it was all for naught, because frogs are fundamentally un-vicious creatures and, well, they cannot be trained to look mean. They don't care about us annoying humans! They just want to hop around! So this movie can't hold a candle to, say, "The Birds". That doesn't mean it's not enjoyable though - it is, in a schlocky way. It's colorful, it's beautifully photographed, and Sam Elliott is rather cool, as 70s leading men go. (**1/2)
Despite a seemingly hokey premise, Frogs is one of the more memorable
and effective entries in the nature-revenge genre.
Family living in Florida's Okefenokee Swamp have been exterminating the local wild life, now it seems that the creatures are all out to kill them!
Frogs is a movie that never fails to be sweat-inducing, especially to those who don't like reptiles! All manner of swamp wild life is used for this film - snakes, spiders, gators, lizards, heck even a turtle! So with all these critters coming for our unsuspecting human characters there's plenty of tension to be had! Director McCowan makes good use of the boggy setting and gives it an atmospheric feeling of certain doom! The eerie score also helps as well.
The films cast is good. Veteran Ray Milland is perfect as the Crockett family's stubborn elder. Young, attractive Sam Elliot is decent as a nature photographer who happens on the scene. Joan Van Ark is good as Elliot's love interest and Adam Roarke as her no-account brother. The supporting cast is also on cue.
While Frogs may be a B thriller that's best taken tongue-in-cheek, it's solidly done and is sure to cause a few chills!
*** out of ****
The free-lance photographer Pickett Smith (Sam Elliott) is taking
pictures of the pollution in a swamp in Florida for a magazine of
ecology in his canoe. Out of the blue, he is hit by a motor boat
piloted by Clint Crockett (Adam Roarke) and his sister Karen Crockett
(Joan Van Ark) and capsizes.
Clint and Karen invite Pickett for the party in the private island of their grumpy grandfather Jason Crockett (Ray Milland), an old fashioned disabled patriarch that enjoys celebrating his birthday on the 4th July with his family.
Pickett realizes that the island is infested of frogs and reptiles and Jason has ordered his caretaker to poison his real estate to get rid of the amphibians and creepy crawlies. But soon Picket realizes that they are living the payback of nature against mankind.
The trash "Frogs" is probably one of the first movies to defend the ecology and absolutely ahead of the time. This is the first feature of Sam Elliot, who acts with the veteran Ray Milland. The story is funny and never scares but entertains. My vote is five.
Title (Brazil): "A Invasão das Rãs" ("The Frogs'Invasion")
While it's pretty obvious that this film was done on a low budget (i.e. the same shots are repeated over and over and over) this is a pretty effective horror movie and deserves a look. The death scenes are well executed (and the end is quite chilling), the music is appropriate (it's sounds almost like an "angry swamp"), and the locations are put to good use. It's definitely a b-movie and is not at all "great cinema", but it's still a minor classic and should have some kind of cult status.
Yes, this was very cheesy, but there are some slick scenes and the characters are all killed off in very convincing ways, making this one both slick and cheesy at the same time. I recommend that fans of B movies check FROGS out, they will not be disappointed.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
Frogs should be classified in that 'large' horror subgenre known as
Environmentalist, Anti-Pollution Horror. It's the story of nature
getting back at us humans for the pollution we've dumped. The story is
set on an island owned by a very wealthy, poison-spraying
anti-environmentalist, Jason Crockett (Ray Milland). His family has
gathered for the traditional 4th of July celebration and birthday
party. But, unbeknownst to the family, the animals are planning their
revenge. The swamp creatures (apparently on orders from the frogs) take
turns killing the family one at a time.
My first reaction: I found it to be a fun, entertaining movie if you DO NOT take it seriously. I usually hate the word 'cheesy' when used to describe a movie, but it's the best word I can think of to describe Frogs. Milland is great as the grumpy old rich man. He dominates every scene he's in. Sam Elliot and Joan Van Ark are the other two stars/heroes most would recognize. And they do their best to make believable the unbelievable horror facing them.
One of the fun parts of the movie is trying to guess which creature will get the next turn at a human victim. And, how they will actually be able to carry out the killings. Will it be the snakes, the spiders, the lizards, the alligators, or the turtles? Yes, even the turtles get a turn in one of the most contrived death scenes ever filmed. Of course, the creatures are helped by the members of the family who seem intent on going one at a time into the woods. Their impending deaths are telegraphed from a mile away.
I can't in all honesty and in good conscious give this one a very high rating. I'll say a 6/10 for that funky, cheese filled 70s feel that Frogs has.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
This film is absolutely ribbiting. The action really toads the line between intense and dynamic. I was swamped with delight witnessing such awesome acting by the likes of Ray Milland, Sam Elliot, and Adam Rourke. This isn't one of those "Government tried a shortcut and ended up creating a monstrosity of nature that now has to kill all mankind" type of sci-fi creature films. This is nature verses man all the way, the likes of "Jaws", that'd come out a few years later. Well okay, this is no "Jaws", but folks, I'm telling you, it's pretty darn entertaining, if not in a "fun to bag on" sense. The pace is slow but intentionally so, as the froggies move in while a group of rich people (and Sam Elliot as the token environmentalist) are about to have a outdoor picnic. Sam Elliot as the do-gooder nature guy doesn't go over-the-top, and doesn't lecture like so many "nature first" characters can do in these films (i.e., no rants). Everything in "Frogs" is pretty subtle, even the attacks by the reptiles. Mind you, the frogs themselves don't move in till the end; but they are the silent generals of the surrounding swamp land's snakes, lizards, and giant spiders. Rent, or buy, "Frogs"... It's a truly ribbiting film! (The beginning credit sequence is one of my favorites of all time; and stick around for a little surprise after the end credits...)
The plot here is little more than: "Help! We're surrounded by hostile
creatures!" Yet there's something about this movie that lodges in the
memory and it's probably its heavy, humid atmosphere -- like a hot
summer day where nothing's happening yet you know there must be a storm
brewing just over the horizon. The eclectic cast is headed by Ray
Milland but the star here is Sam Elliott who makes his first real
impression in the movies. His
let-me-strip-off-my-sweaty-shirt-and-display-my-hairy-chest scenes were
SO impressive that they landed him the lead role in that piece of
beefcake-nirvana called "Lifeguard."
(June 2009 update: Note how this movie finds echoes, seven years later, in another Sam Elliott movie: "The Legacy." In both movies Elliott plays a young man who, because of a transportation accident, winds up as a reluctant guest at a mansion located in an isolated spot in the country. The mansion is owned, in both cases, by a distinguished older gentleman who suffers from a physical disability. There are other guests at the mansion and during the course of Elliott's stay, these guests are killed off, one by one -- in a variety of bizarre fashions -- by a mysterious force. In both movies, Elliott performs "beefcake" scenes which have a gratuitous quality. In "Frogs," he appears twice without his shirt and in "The Legacy" he has a rear-view nude scene.)
Ray Milland's career was tanking real fast when he agreed to do this
one for American-International. The story behind Frogs is similar to
the plot of the Elizabeth Taylor less than classic Elephant Walk.
That's the one where Peter Finch's father built his mansion in Sri
Lanka where the elephants used to trod. Eventually they trod there
In Frogs Ray Milland has a large old plantation estate on an island in the Everglades and he's been expanding it for years crowding out the swamp life. It's not just the frogs but all the swamp critters want their turf back.
And when do they pick to begin their war? On the 4th of July which coincidentally enough is Milland's birthday and he's thrown a party and he's got his kids and grandkids with him. And a stranger played by a young and beardless Sam Elliot.
The movie gets the title Frogs because they seem to be directing the battle. One by one Milland's family and help are picked off. Only a few manage to escape.
Frogs is done kind of tongue in cheek and Milland grumps and groans his way through the film like a man with a bad case of hemorrhoids. Maybe being confined to a wheelchair in the part gave him a case. He had to be wondering how his agent talked him into this.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
Attention, all: Specific Spoilers in here!
A frog little man vs. nature film great for a three-in-the-morning-insomniac-fest, Frogs may be. But it's less scary than it is a interesting comment on the social undercurrents bubbling to the surface in 1972.
We meet our characters, all the classics that populate the 1970s disaster films: Jason Crockett (the disappointing Ray Milland, even if it IS the script's fault), who represents the adults, the older generation that was being rebelled against in the just-post-hippie years. Being Crockett is a military man who likes everything to be ordered and just so, he also represents the `staid' government that youth were rebelling against at the time; Karen Crockett (Joan Van Ark), the perhaps-Carpenter-inspired anorexia glam of the 70s, (or was it Twiggy-inspired leftover, perhaps), so thin if she turns sideways she'd disappear.and Pickett (Sam Elliot), who boldly removes his shirt when he's got to leap in the water to dislodge the canoe with Karen and the two children in it, not only to provide the standard male sex symbol image so prevalent in all horror films (got to have a maverick guy to rescue everybody and be the outspoken one who's right in the end, after all), but also to illustrate `that men are still men even if there's this women's lib movement thriving. A hairy chest still turns them on.'
Now, issues. Most amusing, the comments on the leftovers of the civil rights movement. I found the woman in her voo-doo inspired garish robes and hoop earrings just a little contrived when she screamed at the two servants, `Five score and seven years ago you earned the right to make up your own minds.' Or something like that - I don't remember the line exactly. But it's a sub-plot that surfaces for all of five minutes and is resolved in all of five minutes, sticking out like the sore thumb of the screenwriter trying to get his point across just because it was `cool' or `hip' or `in' at the time.
There's even the surfacing of the anti-American government theme: well, Vietnam was going on at the time. A frog tromps blissfully across a cake shaped and frosted like the American Flag. Toward the end, a frog lodges itself against the thick arm of an ancient grammophone, putting a stop to the festive militant-sounding march music that is Crockett's attempt to soothe his nerves in the middle of the night.
And then, there's the pre- don't-pick-up-strangers-on-the-side-of-the-road mentality: Pickett secures a ride for Karen and the kids from a passing car. The woman doesn't question him getting in the car with a shot-gun. And, after all, why would she? She's only got her kid she just picked up from camp in the passenger seat.
Okay, perhaps this is all too deep for a low-budget 1970s `monster' movie. But films, no matter how bad, often reflect what's up with the country at the time and sometimes you even find evidence of that in a lousy script and bad shots of probably-harmless frogs on the `rampage.'
So when that phone rings in the last scene, leaving Milland in despair to shout, 'it can't be dead, it rang!'.don't let fear keep you up. It's just the frogs calling to tell you your beer is finished - and it's time to call it a night.
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