Jul 12, 2023
A moderately entertaining creature feature with storms, flood waters, and hangry alligators
Recently, I had the chance to screen the upcoming horror thriller flick The Flood. Written by Chad Law (Section 8) and Josh Ridgway (Howlers), the film is directed by former die section heavy metal vocalist Brandon Slagle (The Black Dahlia Haunting). The gist is this: In a small town in Southwest Louisiana, the local sheriff must lead some prisoners through a daring jail break during a massive hurricane in rising flood waters infested with a horde of hungry alligators. While The Flood presents us with an interesting scenario and is moderately entertaining, it's just another creature feature installment that falls short on delivering a solid horror movie full of gore, thrills, and chills.
Starring Nicky Whelan (Maneater) and Casper Van Dien (The Most Dangerous Game), The Flood follows a federal transport van carrying five prisoners and their guards. With increasing winds and rising flood waters, they find themselves in need of a safe place to ride out the storm. In the tiny fictional town of Lutree, it seems the local jail is the only option.
As the prisoners take shelter in the holding cells, the sheriff and a few deputies secure the building and discover not only are flood waters pouring in at the sublevel, but they’re also alive with hungry alligators. As water continues infiltrating the building and rising, gators make their way to the main floor, trapping everyone they don’t eat first in the holding cell room. As a result, the sheriff, the prisoners, and a few guards must make their “daring jail break” to survive.
Oh, and somewhere in there tucked amongst all of that is some weird, flirty relationship between the sheriff and a certain prisoner, which doesn’t really function as anything other than an underdeveloped subplot of awkwardness. With Hurricane Gustavo bearing down on the city, conditions worsen as survivors struggle to make their way through the ceiling to the roof so they can escape the hungry horde. I don’t know about you, but I hardly consider four alligators to be a horde. A handful, maybe, but definitely not a horde.
While the plot is decent, the film falls short in providing us with a solidly fleshed out storyline full of interesting dialogue and subplots—even subtext. And it definitely lacks in thrilling us with any real tension and horror, especially like what we saw with Alexandre Aja’s 2019 hit Crawl.
The acting was okay, but it could’ve been better, and the effects are pretty low budget. The characters aren’t very memorable either, short of a smart-mouthed prisoner with an attempted Cajun accent and the town sheriff, who is a woman (Nicky Whelan). I have no problem with her being a woman—I love this, in fact. I just don’t particularly care for the way she is portrayed.
Let’s be realistic, here: This movie is set in Southwest Louisiana. As someone who was born, raised, and lived most of her life in South Louisiana until recently, I can say with certainty that while hurricanes, flood waters, and alligators are a reality down there, sheriffs being hot babes with big knockers, constantly perfect dewy makeup, and hair always wet enough to look like a Sports Illustrated model on location are not. I’m sorry, guys, but I’ve never seen it. That’s not to say a beautiful, big-boobed babe can’t be a town sheriff; she absolutely can, and more power to her for that. But there isn’t much about this town sheriff that’s realistic or authoritatively official.
I’m not downplaying Nicky Whelan at all--she wasn’t half bad. She makes a solid effort that would’ve best been met with a better supporting cast and a better fleshed-out narrative. Also, more effort could’ve been put into executing this story beyond just making sure she looked sexy in every scene. The scenario could’ve used more hangry gators, more urgency and chaos where the hurricane and jail break were concerned, more fear and desperation from the characters fighting to escape hangry beasts, and more action and gore in the gators’ sneak attacks—some of which were really good.
I imagine had the filmmakers received a bigger budget, we’d have seen a different film. This felt rushed and centered more on a hot babe leading a group of men to safety instead of on escaping death in a raging hurricane with flood waters full of angry alligators. The Flood should have taken a bigger cue from Crawl on how to successfully create a horror thriller that depicts a destructively intensifying storm with flood waters full of bloodthirsty threats. In not doing so, they missed an opportunity to create a measurable creature feature to add to the queue. The storm here didn’t really seem that intense at all beyond the flood waters, and the four gators they held looked more like the alligator blow-up rafts found at Wal-Mart than actual hangry creatures.
Despite all its weaknesses, there were a few moments that got my blood flowing that will get yours going, too. The beginning of the movie isn’t half bad and does a good job of setting the tone, and there’s a pretty good scene that involves narrowly escaping the jaws of a pissed-off gator, but overall, the movie ended predictably and quite abruptly, and it was rather anticlimactic with no real message, other than if you're down in Louisiana when a hurricane hits, be cautious of any flood waters. Then again, that's kind of Saban Films' thing: B-horror movies that fall short on hitting the mark but are still somewhat entertaining if you're bored. This watch is probably best left as a rainy-day rental or stream.
For a more in-depth review of The Flood, click here.
The Flood hits theaters everywhere in the U.S., on Apple TV, and on Video On Demand Friday, July 14.
Keeley Brooks is a big ole movies, television, and streaming nerd with an uncontrollable urge to write about everything she watches, even if it sucks. Email her at email@example.com