Monday, May 09, 2005


Frog-g-g! (Cody Jarrett, 2004) - mixed+

In Generic Small Town, USA, a chemical plant decides to not play by the rules, and starts to dump toxic waste in a seemingly safe spot not too far from the town’s water supply. What could possibly go wrong? Needless to say, a lot. Before long, people start getting sick from drinking the water, and what’s worse – a dark green, man-sized, mutant frog pops up and wreaks havoc among the citizens, particularly the young women; it becomes increasingly apparent that the frog needs to reproduce with humans in order to survive! A bright young scientist tries desperately to convince the authorities that things look grim, but local politics and corruption gets in the way.

Cheap horror comedies with cheesy-looking monsters and endless tongue-in-cheek referential dialogue is old hat – we’ve seen it done a million times in this post-everything day and age, and sometimes it works (as in the case of the best Troma flicks) and sometimes it doesn’t (all the other Tromas). But Frog-g-g! is something slightly more interesting than an ironic MST3K excursion: a more or less straight-faced homage to the well-crafted, solid creature flicks of the 70s – the Joe Dante-helmed (and John Sayles-penned!) Piranha in particular. The obligatory nods to classic creature features like Creature from the Black Lagoon are all there, and yes, Mary Woronov phones in a cameo, but overall, writer-director Jarrett has enough confidence to try things his own way. The film also makes some interesting comments about sexual politics, and even manages to feature a female protagonist whose homosexuality amazingly doesn’t come across as contrived.

Frog-g-g! is not a very good film, but it is an interesting anomaly, like a weird blast from a past, and I can’t help to wonder how much of a splash it could’ve made, if, say, it had some help from the same marketing geniuses that were responsible for the Lost Skeleton of Cadavra campaign.