This Casper Van Dien and Nicky Whelan-starring film doesn’t have much going for it outside of its entertaining cast.
PLOT: A daring jailbreak during a dangerous Louisiana hurricane is interrupted by a horde of large hungry alligators.
REVIEW: I’ll always count myself as a lover of absurd killer animal movies. When done right, they can be heightened explorations of the relationship between humanity and nature. When done wrong, they can be schlocky messes that don’t really have much to say about anything. The Flood is more of the latter with its very cheap effects and some of the most absurd story beats I’ve seen all year. Given the Louisiana setting, it’s hard not to think of a similarly themed Gator movie, Crawl. Unfortunately, that’s where the similarities end.
The Flood centers on a Louisiana jail during a hurricane. They’re receiving a prisoner transfer, and one of those prisoners happens to have something so valuable that a group of mercenaries is ready to make things violent to break him out. As if a raging hurricane and soldiers weren’t enough, there are also Alligators hell-bent on destruction. If you’re going to do a killer animal movie, you need to make your voracious beasts either believable or so over the top that they have superpowers. Unfortunately, everything involving the gators feels so slow and plodding despite the very bad CGI. They feel like phantoms, hardly even interacting with their environment. And each of the kills follows a very similar pattern, which just leads to more boredom.
I think one of the better aspects of the movie is Casper Van Dien’s character. The mystery around just why he’s so important to be broken out of jail doesn’t get properly revealed until a surprisingly long way into the film. Despite his top billing, he’s really just a man in the shadows for a long portion, until finally stepping into action hero mode in the last act. As a fan of the actor, he feels underutilized. Nicky Whelan serves as the Sheriff and has some fun interactions with some of the deplorable convicts. But her interactions with Casper also feel like something that could have been explored further.
The Alligators are one of the worst elements of the film. At one point, they become absolute bullet sponges to an absurd degree. For instance, two of the characters unload multiple clips worth of ammo into this alligator, only for the gator to be completely unphased. It’s only when said gator finally kills his intended target that the bullets magically start working again. These inconsistencies can be rather frustrating, especially when it results in the deaths feeling pointless.
Ultimately killer animals movies are supposed to be fun, and this fails to deliver on that front. Most of the characters are either disgusting human beings or just completely devoid of personality. While I enjoyed Van Dien’s Russell Cody, his character is strange. While he’s the main reason for the thieves breaking into the jail, the actual reasoning for having to get him is relatively weak. Especially when getting him out alive feels important one minute and then completely pointless the next. Given how important this is to the story, I’m shocked it wasn’t developed further.
The Flood is ultimately a disappointing experience at the movies. While the cast is fun, with characters being much more developed than you’d expect from a film like this, there isn’t much to latch onto. The gators are such a big part of the story, only for them to have so little bite that it feels like a misstep. If anything, the storyline with the mercenaries breaking out Cody is far more interesting than anything involving the gators. Makes you wonder why they couldn’t have just done an Assault on Precinct 13-style film instead.
THE FLOOD will be available in Theaters, On Demand and Digital on July 14, 2023.