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Tuesday, May 31, 2022

Watch Your Butt - There’re Gators in the Sewer!

So let’s say that you’ve seen Jaws more than a couple of times and are looking to experience the story of how bigwig officials put the almighty dollar ahead of the safety of the citizens they are supposed to represent, but just aren’t in the mood for Roy Scheider, sharks, or any of that Stephen Spielberg nonsense.  What are you going to do?  Well, thanks to writer/director Paul Dale, you can sit back and “enjoy” Sewer Gators.

We’ve probably all heard the stories of people dumping pet baby alligators down the toilet with the critters growing to full size and prowling the sewage tunnels under our feet. Dale takes that urban legend and infuses it with the basic plot of Jaws, some sophomoric humor, chintzy props, sketchy acting, and enough redneck tropes and stereotypes to choke even the largest (sewer) gator, and gives us the story of a local sheriff, an alligator expert, and an old gator hunter who have to stop the chaos in a small Louisiana town before it derails the town’s 50th annual Gator Festival.
The humor here is hit or miss, but - at least in my case - being more hit (even if they weren’t very powerful, Mike Tyson-esque punches).  There’s downright silly (like the props used for some of the gator attacks) to the (not very) subtle image of everyone always drinking beer.  Some of the best gags are delivered during the end credits in the form of clips of a morning radio show host which are reminiscent of some of the bits heard in the video game(s) Grand Theft Auto when you listen to the radio as you drive around.
With an apparent shoestring budget and an obvious DIY attitude, Sewer Gators isn’t going to win any awards for its effects (despite a few fairly impressive shots of a CGI gator), but that only adds to the charm and chutzpah on display.  I mean, how many movies can stick some small plastic gators to an actresses’ face and somehow make it work to the degree that it needs to?  Plus, with just about everything being a practical effect, how can you fault them? However, a huge miss (in my opinion), was the introduction and subsequent dismissal of “gator vision” which we get in the opening, but never again, although a fair trade-off were the freeze-frame shots of gator victims.  While the acting is about what you would expect, although even the weakest of the bunch puts forth a 100% effort. Manon Pages (as gator expert Laura Andrews), and Kenny Bellau (as Sheriff Mitchell) are the best of the bunch and bring just the right stuff to their roles to make them stand out.
Make no mistake - Sewer Gators honestly isn’t a very good movie, but it IS a pretty enjoyable one if you go into it with the right mindset. And sometimes, in the absence of Roy Scheider, sharks, or Stephen Spielberg nonsense, enjoyable is all that you need.

Sewer Gators

Directed by: Paul Dale
Written by: Paul Dale
Produced by: Paul Dale Films
Genre: Comedy, Horror
Starring: Manon Pages, Kenny Bellau, Austin Naulty
Runtime: 1h 3m
Rated: TV-MA
Release Date: June 3, 2022

SEWER GATORS will be available on VOD, DVD, Blu-Ray, and collectible VHS on June 3 from the official BY THE HORNS website.

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