Frog-g-g! (2004) / Horror-Sci Fi
MPAA Rated: Not rated, but definitely would be R for sexuality, nudity, rape, and violence
Running time: 80 min.
Cast: Kristi Russell, Ariadne Shaffer, Rob Brink, Michael McConnohie, James Duval, Todd Malta, Mary Woronov, John Ponzio
Director: Cody Jarrett
Screenplay: Cody Jarrett
Review published April 27, 2005
A throwback to low-budget schlock films of the 1970s, Frog-g-g! will be a definite hit with trash cinema aficionados and MST3K regulars, but will have absolutely no appeal to anyone else. To make it a little clearer, if you love Roger Corman flicks or the films made by Troma, you'll get lots of mileage out of this campy homage. If not, you're probably in for a world of pain, as this movie is very bad, although it is made to be that way for a reason.
Kristi Russell plays sexy EPA scientist Dr. Barbara Michaels, who travels to the small town of Taft, CA, in order to inspect the local lake for possible dumping of illegal toxic materials by the red flag company known as Grimes. Along with her lesbian lover and local bartender Trixie (Ariadne Shaffer), Barbara finds there's much more than meets the eye with the pollution being dumped, as the toxicity level is such that genetic mutations of the local wildlife could actually happen, and in this case, does a man-sized frog (a sort-of cross between a Sleestak and Greedo) is on the loose, and the local populace is threatened in ways they never imagined possible.
Obviously, being an homage to 1970s drive-in fare, this is a lot of nonsensical hokum meant strictly to bring a smile to the face of those who love staying up late at night to watch every god awful cheaply produced science fiction b-movie that comes on. As bad as these films are, they are still fun to watch, as the filmmakers revel in every instance of bad acting, sensationalistic conflicts, and obvious special effects.
While Frog-g-g! is effective as a recreation of bad horror/sci-fi flicks, it is also an uneven experience. The main reason why it doesn't work is because writer/director Cody Jarrett doesn't establish a firm grip as to whether or not he is making a satire on schlock or if he is making a recreation of it. In a few instances, it is clear he is going for laughs, but for the most part, this loving spoof doesn't spoof -- it merely regurgitates. The tongue isn't planted in cheek firmly enough, and what could have been a ribald send-up ends up being just another bad low budget movie, almost indistinguishable in delivery than the worst of them. There is a lot of comedic mileage one could have with this outlandish material, but things never become funny enough, or scary enough, to really make this satire crackle like it should.
A few hardcore junkies will get the humor of it the whole way through, but these are probably the ones who get the humor in almost all movies made in the worst of taste. If you aren't one who embraces cheap horror for how cheesy they can be, you aren't likely to find any humor in seeing a knowingly awful movie like Frog-g-g! This one's strictly for the genre purists who actually want to see a man in an unconvincing frog suit chase lipstick lesbians around a football field. This is a horny toad movie for those who will watch any horny toad movie, warts and all.
©2005 Vince Leo