The Flood follows Jo Newman (Nicky Whelan), the sheriff of a Louisiana police department in the middle of a massive hurricane. Because of the bad weather, a truck full of inmates stops at the station for the night. Things become more complicated when a group of criminals comes to break out one of the inmates, Russell Cody (Casper Van Dien). Of course, there are more complications when alligators storm the flooded station as well.
So then both the cops and the criminals must work together in what’s essentially Assault on Prescient 13 but with alligators. Or Ghosts on Mars with alligators, if you prefer John Carpenter’s inferior sci-fi remake of his own film for some odd reason.
Silly CGI Gators
Let’s start with the bad. During their first scene, each convict gets a freeze-frame and caption saying their name and charge, which has two problems with it. One, it’s unnecessary because Jo later does a roll call at the station, saying the same information out loud. Two, introducing a character with subtitles is also lazy unless you do something fun with it, like in Feast. The best part of that movie is how each character gets a life expectancy.
When the prisoners first arrive, Jo tells them that her father was the sheriff before her, and she will shoot them as part of a ‘don’t f*ck with me just because I’m a woman speech.’ That statement about her dad is the only bit of backstory she gets. Perhaps that’s why they have Whelan pretend to be American when her natural Australian accent shows occasionally.
Unless they’re someone like Bob Hoskins, Hugh Laurie, or Olivia Cooke, who leave you going, ‘Wait, you’re British,’ directors should probably just let actors use their natural dialect. Of course, we at MovieWeb rank that as one of the more superficial criticisms, especially if an actor’s performance is otherwise good.
The CGI alligators in this movie are terrible. The filmmakers should have taken a page from Jaws’ playbook and shown them as little as possible. If genre fans had to choose between bad CGI or bad practical effects, they’d probably pick the latter anytime. The problem is that bad CGI is a lot cheaper.
The Flood Is Still Entertaining
The movie plays out exactly how you’d expect it to. For instance, midway through the film, Jo strips her uniform off to a tank top, like any self-respecting heroine in an action or horror movie. However, being derivative isn’t necessarily a death sentence. A recent example: M3GAN showed that your movie can be predictable, so long as other elements like acting or humor can make up for that.
The acting in the movie is fine. Outside the thing with her accent, there are no complaints about Whalen, and Van Dien proves yet again that he’s a charismatic leading man. The cinematography and set design is also pretty good at points, such as when slow-motion takes over at times throughout the well-crafted, claustrophobic setting. Another good part, though this might come down to personal taste, is the human fight scene.
At one point, before everyone decides they all need to get along to survive, Jo fights two of the inmates. She’s at a disadvantage with these two big guys in terms of size and weight, so Jo evens the odds by using her environment to her advantage and a pair of handcuffs as knuckle breakers. That’s good for those who like some realism in fight scenes, enough that things aren’t made too easy for the main characters.
Is The Flood a good movie? No. Is it a bad movie? No. Is it so bad it’s good? Also no. The Flood is somewhere in the middle of the spectrum. Director Bandon Slagle has admitted that this movie is meant to entertain the audience without them having to think about it too much, which the movie certainly accomplices, even if you’re not likely to watch The Flood a second time. In that regard, audience members would be better off renting the movie on demand or digitally for a bit of silly, simple fun.
The Flood will be available in theaters and on demand and Digital on July 14, 2023. You can watch the trailer below: