The Flood

In 2019, there was a movie called Crawl about a young woman and her father who get trapped inside a flooding house with hungry alligators during a massive hurricane. In 2023, there’s a movie called The Flood in which cops and inmates get trapped inside a flooding police station with hungry alligators during a massive hurricane. Is it sheer coincidence that this low-budget thriller has an extremely similar story to the Paramount hit? Maybe, maybe not. Either way, it pales greatly in comparison.

Louisiana is being pounded by the worst hurricane since Katrina, although what we see is just heavy rain. Small town sheriff Jo Newman (Nicky Whelan) gets a phone call. A busload of dangerous convicts cannot traverse through the weather any longer, so the guards want her to put the five guys up in her holding cells for the night. Left with no choice, Newman reluctantly agrees, despite water seeping in all over the building. Among the guests is cop killer Russell Cody (Casper Van Dien), whose former colleague Rafe Calderon (Louis Mandylor) is executing a plan to break him out. That plan is hindered by a group of alligators that makes its way inside the station. Law enforcement and criminals need to work together in order to survive. Of course, most of them don’t.

The Flood is packed with cliches. We get the requisite scene where Newman beats up a convict twice her size in order to prove her toughness. We get the redneck guard who continually makes stupid decisions. And if you guessed that Cody is actually a half-decent, unfairly accused guy who develops a connection with Newman, you obviously know your tropes.

All of that would be forgivable if the alligator attacks were exciting. Instead, they’re mostly the low point of the film. Cinema has reached a stage where CGI can make anything happen. Making it look good is another matter. With an obviously low budget, The Flood is forced to make do with cheap, unconvincing computer-generated alligators. The result is often laughable because the quality of the CGI is on the level of a SyFy Channel original movie, like Sharknado. The difference is that those cable films are tongue-in-cheek. Director Brandon Slagle wants us to take his seriously, but you fundamentally can’t get excited about alligator attacks when the alligators are completely fake-looking.

Whelan and Van Dien give more effort to the movie than it earns, especially during the big finale, which takes a cue from Jaws. If you want to see an alligator thriller that works, Crawl is right there, as are 1980’s Alligator, 1999’s Lake Placid, and 2020’s Black Water Abyss. Each of them has way more bite than The Flood.

out of four

The Flood is rated R for violence, some gore, and language throughout. The running time is 1 hour and 33 minutes.