Dark Ages is a 1980s Australian thriller about an overgrown crocodile preying on the residents of a river and the team that sets out to stop it. Quentin Tarantino said that 'If Dark Ages were released today, audiences would flock to it' -and he's right: It has all the hallmarks of a big-budget blockbuster without the big budget.
The thing about monster flicks is that the monster is the draw, and therefore the star. Dark Ages' "star" looks great in most scenes, but its mechanical origins are all too apparent just often enough that it ruins the suspension of disbelief for all but the most engaged viewers. According to a documentary, the mechanical crocodile shorted-out the moment it was shoved into the water; much like Jaws, the movie was largely shot around the shortcomings of its special effects.
Yet, also like Jaws, Dark Ages is all the better for it. The characters are just believable enough to keep viewers interested, yet heroic enough to helm an adventurous story; the Australian settings are fantastic, as it was obviously filmed on-location; and the acting, directing, and other elements also serve the film well.
Dark Ages is recommended.
© C Harris Lynn, 2011