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by Thomas M. Sipos, managing editor [May 12, 2022]





[]  Sewer Gators might be described as trash horror comedy. A film that doesn't take itself seriously. A bad film.

I'm sure writer/director Paul Dale, and all his cast and crew, know it. They're likely hoping that Sewer Gators is so bad it's good. That's always a risk. Some intentionally bad films turn out so bad as to be unwatchable.

Like many "when animals attack" films, Sewer Gators slavishly borrows the Jaws template. We have a small town. And an upcoming event that is vital to the town's financial well-being. After a series of fatal alligator attacks, the sheriff insists the event be canceled. The mayor (with support from local businesses) overrules the sheriff. Profits before people! A beautiful, big city scientist arrives to assist the sheriff with her alligator expertise (and serve as his love interest). They even enlist the requisite crude, macho hunter to help them destroy the creatures.

The story is unoriginal. Acting is hammy. A sense of amateurism pervades the film. Make-up and visual effects are ... well, most of the time Sewer Gators isn't even trying. It's as if Dale thought, I can't create great special effects, so I'll go to the other extreme and use really bad effects, just for laughs.

Truly, I've never seen a horror film with such poor "effects." We see plastic alligators of varying sizes move from behind toilets and faucets, and we're supposed to believe they're emerging from those faucets. One must engage in heroic suspension of disbelief to buy it. Or, more likely, Dale is hoping you'll laugh at his shamelessly bad effects.

Consider these examples.



After an alligator emerges from a toilet and eats a man (we don't see it, we only hear his screams), Sheriff Mitch (Kenny Bellau) arrives to find the victim's foot floating in the toilet water. The "foot" is obviously made of yellow plastic. Just to make sure we see that, Mitch pokes the "foot" with his pen, causing the "foot" to bob in the water. Dale can easily have found a more realistic prop foot, but instead, he went for an especially bad "effect."




Some alligators are obviously tiny, toy alligators. When one "emerges" from the faucet, we see the special effects person's hand in the background, holding the alligator.



When the hunter Shane (Austin Naulty) finds one in his sink, he slams it several times with a mallet. The plastic toy bounces about, sliding upon its "blood" (obviously ketchup).



A swarm of toy alligators "hop" out of the sink and cover Gladyis's (Sophia Brazda) face. (I hope they didn't use Super Glue.)

Not all the "effects" are this bad. There is some CGI. Not the best CGI, but still better than the plastic toys.

From the opening joke credits, Dale signals us that he's playing this for laughs. Many more joke credits at the end. "Liberace's Dog" is the credited Script Supervisor. Rocky Balboa, Bill Clinton, Willem Defoe, Martin Scorsese, and Lee Harvey Oswald are among the credited crew positions.

And to make sure we know it's joke, one credit reads "These are made up we didn't have a crew."


My favorite credit (for Set Costumer, Hair & Makeup) reads: "We had to get it over an hour so I made up credits." Well, that's honest. (Sewer Gators runs at under 62 minutes.) And risky. If the jokes aren't funny, if the film's not entertaining, joke credits elicit audience contempt rather than mirth.

Sewer Gators is not a hilarious film, but it's watchable. Barely. I've seen worse. The jokes are heavy-handed. The characters broadly drawn. The cast seems to be enjoying themselves, which is not a good sign, not if you're striving to create great art. But, well, Sewer Gators.


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