Written by Robert Hutchinson & Robert Blees
Directed by George McCowan
Picket Smith...Sam Elliot
Karen Crockett...Joan Van Ark
Jason Crockett...Ray Milland
The private island owned by wealthy, wheelchair-bound industrialist Jason Crockett is being overrun with creatures of all shapes and sizes. Beyond the titular frogs, there is also a proliferation of lizards, spiders, snakes, and all manner of creepy-crawlies under the sun. With the entire Crockett family in attendance for an annual Fourth of July celebration, all of whom are filled with contempt and complaint regarding the animal kingdom, Jason attempts to murderize the unwanted guests using pesticides, poisons, and fire arms...anything that he can get his paws on.
Enter Picket Smith, a freelance ecology photographer, who becomes an unexpected houseguest at the Crockett estate following an accident that capsizes his green-minded canoe. When the island's animals become more and more aggressive, and one dead body turns up, and then two, Smith theorizes that nature is tired of being kicked around by Jason Crockett and his ilk. That is to say, Gaia is mad as hell, and she's not going to take it anymore!
Nature Strikes Back is a peculiar sub-genre of the horror film. They don't really seem to come in cycles, at least not so often as other sub-genres (slashers, vampires, etc)...they just seem to crop up from time to time, then vanish back into the woodwork. When done well, they can be quite good (Alfred Hitchcock's The Birds), and when done poorly they can run from ridiculous (Night of the Lepus, anyone?) to enjoyable cheese (Slugs or Squirm, for instance). Unfortunately, much of the time they turn out like Frogs: just plain boring. At least to me.
I should have known what I was getting into during the opening credits. Not every film has to jump right into the action, but this was the most mind-numbingly dull first five minutes in my memory. Have you ever watched someone take photographs for five full minutes? It's far from exciting. You may as well be watching paint dry.
And that's pretty much the way I felt through a large chunk of this movie. It was slow moving, and padded liberally with shots of bullfrogs just...being bullfrogs. It felt like I was watching a National Geographic documentary with the informative narration turned off.
I would have rather watched it with the picture turned off.
"The frogs are thinking now. The snails are planning strategy."