Frogs (Movie Review)
Jason Crockett is your consummate southern gentleman. A hardliner for the old days, he invites his children and theirs to his secluded island estate every year for his birthday. Jason has made sure to build his mansion on this island far away from the annoying people on the mainland. His estate still has its fair share of annoyances though; mainly wildlife. Unable to stand the constant noise of the filthy creatures, Jason works hard at having the local wild life poisoned so that they leave him alone. Who wants that all that pesky nature anyways? Enter Pickett Smith.
Pickett is a free lance photographer working on a photo spread on pollution for an ecology magazine. When Jason's drunken sun nearly runs Pickett over with his boat, they feel compelled to take him back to the mansion so that he can dry off and enjoy some food. Finding out that Pickett is some what of an ecology buff, Jason talks him into surveying his island to see if there is a better way to deal with the critters that are driving him nuts. As Pickett sets off, he soon finds that the poison hasn't quite worked as expected, and now the local creatures have an agenda of their own... An agenda for... REVENGE!
Sounds pretty amazing doesn't it? Rampaging frogs! Marauding snakes! Stalking crocodiles! Naturally, you can see what drew me to this 1972 package of natural horror. When you get down to it though, the deadly reptiles are not quite as imposing as you might think. While the box and poster are promises many deaths by millions of frogs... they don't quite take part in the carnage first hand. Sure, there are a hell of a lot of frogs about, but When it comes to actual "frog-murder" they take part as more of a 'casual observer' than anything else. Perhaps you remember the "Simpsons" episode with the comments about the dog with the shifty eyes? That is precisely how you know these frogs are killers; the shifty eyes.
The majority of the victims die at the hands of their own stupidity. But when you see the random reptile of the moment sitting off to the side with its shifty eyes; you know they're the ones to blame. Some perhaps take a bit more active role in the rampage. Watching the iguana push the bottle of poison off the shelf in the green house went a long way to show the steely cold heart of the ruthless killer. However, when the idiot son accidentally shoots himself in the leg with his shot gun and the spider comes along later to throw Spanish moss over him, you might wonder if the spider indeed meant malice towards his victim, or perhaps he was just trying to keep him warm until help came along.
"Frogs" is one of those older horror flicks that were never really meant to be taken seriously. The 'nature gone wild' angle was used a lot in the seventies with such flicks as "Piranha" amd "Squirm" among many others. While none of them were particularly... good, they made for a laugh during a late night viewing. The plot of "Frogs" loosely tries to tie in a tale of ecological wrong doing and how karma can bite you in the ass for performing such atrocities, but at the end of the day these themes are really nothing more than an afterthought.
Mix in the shoddy deaths and their loose attempts at tying the critters to the carnage and any sense of seriousness can be thrown out the window. Surprisingly, there were some who had more faith in this being smarter than it turned out, as there's some fairly big names involved. Ray Milland of "Dial M for Murder" fame, Joan Van Ark whom you might remember from "Dallas", (Why I know this, I don't know, but I actually remembered who she was without the help of iMDB) and most surprising, Sam Elliot of 'bad ass cowboy' fame.
If nothing else, "Frogs" is a good laugh for a Halloween party or your own late night movie marathon. It's corny and rather pointless, but it does have killer frogs. Mix in a loose attempt at plot and watching some recognizable actors trudge there way through a septic tank of a movie and it's enjoyable for at least a watch. Just make sure you get it from the bargain bin, you don't want to want to spend too much on this one.