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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.
*** 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...)
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.
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.)
Even though the film can never really top the brilliance of its own tagline ('Today the pond! Tomorrow the world!'), "Frogs" is a hugely entertaining and surprisingly well-made ecological horror film. These typical "creature features" were guaranteed hits back in the 70's and pretty much every animal species got turned into ravenous monsters enthusiast horror filmmakers, even the most unlikely ones like worms ("Squirm") and rabbits ("Night of the Lepus"). In this film, the frogs aren't just vicious killers but also strategic army generals that mobilize a whole island's ecosystem to commit nasty murders! The frogs are merely supervising whilst humans are being killed off by spiders, lizards, snakes, alligators and oh yes even a turtle! Pickett Smith is a freelance photographer who ends up at the private island home of obnoxious industrialist Jason Crockett during his annual 4th of July/birthday celebration. Also present are a dangerously increasing amount of frogs that no longer put up with the pollution and pesticides on the island and they plan a large-scaled attack on the Crockett family. "Ten Little Indians"-style, all the island's residents are imaginatively killed by ill-natured critters. The story naturally is silly and hardly ever scary, yet it's praiseworthy how director George McGowan attempts to build up an atmosphere of tension. Much like Hitchcock did in "The Birds" (only better), McGowan simply zooms in on the frogs and puts the emphasis on their eerie croaking. So, even though they're simple frogs they look a bit ominous! The best aspect of the film unquestionably is Mario Tosi's colorful camera-work that shows the beautiful environment from many creative viewpoints. The young Sam Elliot is quite good in his heroic role but the shows is obviously stolen by Ray Milland as the grumpy and bossy millionaire who thinks he can afford himself everything. The rest of the cast is quite wooden and their gruesome animal-inflicted deaths actually come as a relief. "Frogs" stands for great campy fun, not a single dull moment and a high body count! Damn, the 70's were cool.
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.
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