Newest Reviews
Laguna Ave.
Memory Box: Echoes of 9/11
Flag Day
Boris Karloff: The Man Behind the Monster
Nest, The
Martin Eden
Halloween Kills
Sun Shines Bright, The
Last Thing Mary Saw, The
Mon Oncle d'Amerique
Wild Strawberries
Runner, The
Don't Look Up
Ghostbusters: Afterlife
Forever Purge, The
Venom: Let There Be Carnage
Legend of La Llorona, The
Perdita Durango
Commando, The
Woodlands Dark and Days Bewitched: A History of Folk Horror
Boiling Point
Deadly Games
Voyeurs, The
Beyond the Infinite Two Minutes
In the Earth
Hiroshima Mon Amour
Hotel Poseidon
No Time to Die
Newest Articles
Moon Night - Space 1999: Super Space Theater on Blu-ray
Super Sammo: Warriors Two and The Prodigal Son on Blu-ray
Sex vs Violence: In the Realm of the Senses on Blu-ray
What's So Funny About Brit Horror? Vampira and Bloodbath at the House of Death on Arrow
Keeping the Beatles Alive: Get Back
The Punk Rock Movie: Out of the Blue on Blu-ray
Yeah, Too Quiet: The Great Silence on Blu-ray
Vestron Double Bill: Dementia 13 and The Wraith
Farewell Dean Stockwell: His Years of Weirdness
Kung Fu Craft: Cinematic Vengeance! on Blu-ray
999 Letsbe Avenue: Gideon's Way on Blu-ray
Hungary for Cartoons: Hungarian Animations on MUBI
You Have No Choice: Invasion of the Body Snatchers on Blu-ray
You Can't Tame What's Meant to Be Wild: The Howling on Blu-ray
Commendably Brief: Short Sharp Shocks Vol. 2 on Blu-ray
Super Silents: Early Universal Vol. 2 on Blu-ray
Fable Fear: The Singing Ringing Tree on Blu-ray
Gunsight Eyes: The Sabata Trilogy on Blu-ray
Bloody Bastard Baby: The Monster/I Don't Want to Be Born on Blu-ray
Night of the Animated Dead: Director Jason Axinn Interview
The ParaPod: A Very British Ghost Hunt - Interview with Director/Star Ian Boldsworth
On the Right Track: Best of British Transport Films Vol. 2
The Guns of Nutty Joan: Johnny Guitar on Blu-ray
Intercourse Between Two Worlds: Twin Peaks Fire Walk with Me/The Missing Pieces on Blu-ray
Enjoy the Silents: Early Universal Vol. 1 on Blu-ray
  Dark Age The Reptile Mind
Year: 1987
Director: Arch Nicholson
Stars: John Jarratt, Nikki Coghill, Max Phipps, Burnham Burnham, David Gulpilil, Ray Meagher, Jeff Ashby, Paul Bertram, Ron Blanchard, Gerry Duggan, Ken Radley, Janet Kingsbury, James Fitzgerald, Hank Mosby, James Mann, Jock McCullum, Chris Anderson
Genre: Horror, AdventureBuy from Amazon
Rating:  6 (from 1 vote)
Review: The place is Australia's Northern Territory, and in the Outback ranger Steve Harris (John Jarratt) is recording the crocodile population on the river, but what he doesn't know is there's a huge example of the species not too far away from him. He has other problems at the moment as there is a clap of thunder and the heavy rain begins, leaving his truck stuck in the water until a local Aborigine he knows, a wise man named Oondabund (Burnham Burnham) appears with a few fellow tribesmen and helps him out of the rut. But not everyone is as friendly as them...

Steven Spielberg's Jaws was a very influential horror movie, but apparently it spawned as many killer crocodile and alligator movies as it did killer shark movies, and Dark Age was one of those. It was an Australian production made with American investment from a time when the U.S.A was very interested in movies from that continent, but due to an odd quirk - the company going bust shortly after it was completed, basically - it wasn't released in its home country for decades. For those who did see it, it was a rarity which they thought deserved a better profile, maybe no classic but well enough done to be worth dragging out of obscurity.

Veteran Ozploitation producer Antony I. Ginnane was the man behind this, but don't go expecting wall to wall croc attacks as there was a social and environmental concern to this as well. Certainly when the reptile started munching on the cast the blood flowed freely, but there was just as much, if not more, interest shown to the tensions between the white population and Aborigine population, with the countryside the setting, and almost another character in itself. Of course, David Gulpilil had to show up this being an Aussie movie with that on its mind, but he played a less important role than the Santa Claus-bearded Oondabund, with Burnham essaying what could have been a tribal holy man cliché.

It was to screenwriter Sonia Borg's credit that any of the more hackneyed aspects were carried through this perspective; yes, Razorback had been there before it, but there was a more spiritual quality to Dark Age which was easy to overlook when it took people getting torn limb from limb by a wild animal as its main subject. Steve and his girlfriend Cathy Pope (Nikki Coghill) are having relationship issues, but nothing brings them together like a crisis, though when she witnesses and fails to stop the crocodile from eating a small child - still an alarming moment - it looks like this will tip her over the edge and she'll leave him, especially when Steve is so dedicated to the preservation angle and seems more worried about saving this beast which is operating on instinct.

This notion of defending the indefensible is surprisingly thoroughly pursued, and the film ends up with a chase across the desert trying to get the croc to a place where it can exist without danger of chomping anyone else. This point of view helps when the people trying to kill the creature are either money-minded bureaucrats (Ray Meagher) or outright racist maniacs (led by Captain Hook-alike Max Phipps) who are more caught up in the macho ideal of bringing down mother nature than they are being useful and practical. That the animal is considered an object of veneration by the Aborigines doesn't help their standing with these "yahoos" as Steve calls them, and if the film doesn't quite buy into their religious devotion, it pleads for acceptance and tolerance when there's a way to get along without unnecessary hassle. Nobody tells the monster that, of course, and if the massive puppet representing it looks more convincing in the water than on land, Dark Age was a decent addition to an overused plot. Music by Danny Beckerman.
Reviewer: Graeme Clark


This review has been viewed 2293 time(s).

As a member you could Rate this film

Review Comments (0)

Untitled 1

Forgotten your details? Enter email address in Username box and click Reminder. Your details will be emailed to you.

Latest Poll
Which star probably has psychic powers?
Laurence Fishburne
Nicolas Cage
Anya Taylor-Joy
Patrick Stewart
Sissy Spacek
Michelle Yeoh
Aubrey Plaza
Tom Cruise
Beatrice Dalle
Michael Ironside

Recent Visitors
Graeme Clark
Andrew Pragasam
Darren Jones
Jason Cook
Enoch Sneed
  Desbris M
  Paul Tuersley
  Chris Garbutt


Last Updated: