Written by: Adam Vaughn | July 13th, 2023
The Flood (Brandon Slagle, 2023) 1 out of 4 stars.
I was initially intrigued by director Brandon Slagle’s premise of man vs. beast, since I had previously enjoyed the 2019 Crawl, a film similar in nature featuring hungry alligators. The Flood once again pits humans against the ferocious reptiles, this time involving a group of prison inmates trapped in a Louisiana police station during a dangerous flash-flood thunderstorm. As our characters are held captive at the station by a handful of officers, a group of mercenaries attempts to free their imprisoned friend, Russel Cody (Casper Van Dien, Hunt Club), arrested for murdering a cop. But as the three separate factions close in on each other, an even deadlier presence looms: a batch of hostile alligators that have breached the police station, which is now half-flooded and collapsing in on itself.
Seems like a lot to grasp? That is because The Flood packs high stake after high stake to the point where believability goes completely by the wayside. Sure, the concept is simple enough to follow, but at no point does the viewer truly believe what is happening, nor do any of the film’s outcomes leave a desirable taste. What’s worse is that Slagle’s special effects for the alligators are never well designed, clearly CGI renditions of the animals from start to finish. Mixed with editing that is poorly timed, The Flood simply lacks basic cinematic conventions and struggles to maintain cohesion after its initial liftoff.
The one single enjoyable element of The Flood would have to be the comical and quippy (possibly improvised?) dialogue that comes from Slagle’s cast. Mike Ferguson (The Last Deal), Bear Williams (Sheroes), Randall J. Bacon (Fast Vengeance), and Eoin O’Brien (English Dogs in Bangkok) make up the remaining four convicts, who prove to be the most entertaining characters in the story. Van Diem plays the generic anti-hero of the story well, and Nicky Whelan (Last Night in Rozzie) makes for a tough and rugged Sheriff Jo Newman. Overall, the dynamics between characters keeps the film alive for the first quarter.
After that, sadly, it is all downhill. Without a doubt, The Flood suffers from messy writing and poor editing from the moment the exposition ends, and doesn’t let up on its ludicrousness until its screeching halt, when the heroes ride off (more specifically, jet-ski off) into the sunset, a completely unearned outcome to an overall disappointing film. While it may release just in time to offer some parallels to this summer’s continuous rainy weather (at least on the East Coast), no viewer with a fear of alligators need be dismayed from seeing what’s sure to be considered one of this year’s worst B-movies.