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"A shocker reminiscent of Alfred Hitchcock's The Birds" (Variety), this amphibious horror flick is teeming with thousands of nasty-tempered creatures that are hopping madand murderous. Jumping with action, suspense, revenge and Southern Gothic charm, Frogs' stars Sam Elliott, Joan Van Ark and Ray Milland are constantly a lily pad away from croaking! Jason Crockett (Milland) is an aging, physically disabled millionaire who invites his family to his island estate for hisbirthday party. The old man is more than crotchety he's crazy! Hating nature, Crockett poisons anything that crawls on his property. But on the night of his shindig, it's nature's payback time, as thousands of frogs whip up every bug and slimy thing into a toxic frenzy until the entire environment goes environ-mental.
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Storyline flows the basic 1970s-ecology scare tactic: pollution and disrespect of the planet and its animals will get you in big trouble. In this particular case, the frogs on a Florida estate seem to be leading the animal revolution against human offenders. You'll likely be rooting for the reptiles to kill most of the cast, and you won't have to wait long---after a fairly brief introduction, the animals get right to settling the score.
Bonus points: crazy 1970s fashion on both the guys and girls, shirtless Sam Elliott, croak-tastic soundtrack over the rolling credits (at least I hope it was a soundtrack...or are those frogs outside my window??!).
Speaking of croaking, the humans start doing just that, starting with Grover who went to spray pesticides on the frogs and apparently anything else living. Protagonist Pickett Smith (Sam Elliott, who turns in the best performance in the film) enters the plot after a minor boating mishap with annoying Milland offspring Clint (Adam Roarke, who reminded me of a proto-Uncle Rico from "Napoleon Dynamite.") Pickett is an ecological photographer and quickly grasps that the island is imperiled by wildlife seeking revenge from Crockett's poisons with the frogs as the leaders of the amphibian and reptilian forces. Before it's over every creepy life form imaginable in a swamp (spiders, crocodiles, snakes, lizards, etc.) turns on the humans making this a place Jim Stafford would definitely want to avoid.
The animals coordinate their strategy to eliminate the humans and the cast gets thinned out quickly, leading to a conclusion in which Milland has to face his web-footed fate alone in his own library in drunken horror. The director, George McCowan, really had Milland ham up his final shot; I particularly like the cheesy and unnecessary but arty shots of Milland's trophy animal heads during this scene: talk about over the top.
The DVD comes with widescreen on one side and standard format on the other, and includes the original trailer as an extra. The DVD also offers various language options, and for some reason defaulted to French subtitles on with no action on my part. I watched it with them on, which added to the humorous effect; some of the translations are quite amusing, even with my very rudimentary French capabilities. I liked the subtitles so much I even decided to honor them in my review title: "Grenouilles" is, of course, French for "Frogs." The film is a classic bad nature-gone-crazy movie with an early environmentalist bent. It is not conventionally good by any reasonable measure, but it provides lots of B-movie laughs for all the wrong reasons and is actually entertaining on its own terms, which is why it earns three stars. Fans of cinematic cheese will love this one.
I bought this for a Halloween flashback, but couldn't even finish watching it, it was so slow and horrible. It'd be good if you have a crew to essentially do your own version of MST3K, but to sit and watch the insanely slow-moving movie plod toward it's outrageous end is unbearable.
Sam Elliot fans might get a kick out of seeing 20-something Elliot without his mustache! Very surprising.
FROGS is an allegorical horror story and cautionary tale about America's abuse of the environment. Despite the interesting premise, it doesn't really deliver on the "abstract" level of ideas. Instead it quickly gets bogged down in the mechanics of killing off a big cast, victim by victim. Yawn!!!
Still, I think the film deserves more credit than it usually receives, both for its attempt to make a point about ecology (in 1972, "ecology" was the popular term for "environmental awareness") and for a few scenes that work very well. Ray Milland's final scene is a classic of horror, and a tribute to the taxidermist's art. The revolt of his African-American servants is inspiring, though like all scenes in FROGS it suffers from too little, rather than too much dialogue.
Most recent customer reviews
This is a great movie about the dangers of pollution. I loved it.