I recently saw the Australian horror movie Rogue which was promoted as ‘Jaws with a crocodile’ but was surprisingly better than the second-rate rip-off I expected. It was quite creepy in parts, but largely, I was disappointed with the main female role.

Said female is Kate (Rhada Mitchell). She runs crocodile tours in the tidal rivers of the Northern Territory. On one tour, she has what I assume is her typical assortment of tourists – locals, interstate travelers, the odd overseas accent and American tourist reviewer Pete ( Michael Vartan).

This being a movie about a rogue, fiercely territorial croc, it doesn’t take long before said croc rams the boat and causes it to rapidly sink. Kate drives the boat towards a tidal sandbank despite the mainland being just a few more meters further away. And she doesn’t think to grab the flares, torches and first aid kid when they beach the boat – or at least yell for someone else to – until the tide has risen and said stuff is floating off somewhere with several meters of rogue, territorial croc between them.

It gets worse. It’s Pete who comes up with the idea of using the anchor to trap the croc long enough for people to swim across to the mainland. Not the experienced tour of croc-infested rivers, nope, a travel critic. And then, if you can believe it, while Pete is busy trying to hold onto the anchor, does Kate dive straight into the water and swim like hell? Um, no. She waits a good half a minute – about what it would have taken to swim the distance – to converse with Pete, over a dog, no less, then puts her life jacket on, then dives in. Oh, and when Pete loses control of the anchor, Kate appears to stop swimming and tread water to yell at the others to get away from the shore. Yeah, me, I’d be heading for that shore, given I was in more danger than those actually on it, and those already there could fend for themselves.

Oh yeah, then Pete spends the rest of the movie running around trying to save Kate, despite the fact the last we saw of her (several hours ago), she was virtually cut in half by the croc and hemorrhaging blood. It was another stereotype – of the man who’s always the hero – and wasn’t much better a stereotype than that of the competent-woman-becomes-damsel-in-distress.

The shame of it is, the film was genuinely creepy in parts, at least before they brought into the oversized CG croc. But so much of its creepiness was undermined for me by the fact the heroine was constantly doing stupid things that you would hope your average woman, let alone one with some experience in the situation, wouldn’t have done.

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