Hurricanes. The bane of everyone’s existence in Louisiana, almost as annoying as the omnipresent alligators. The weather’s awful and a hurricane’s about to flood the tiny town of Lutree. As luck would have it, there’s a prison bus passing by town with five tough-boiled felons, including Floyd (Mike Ferguson), a white supremacist, Jox (Randall J. Bacon), busted for armed robbery, and Cody (Casper Van Dien), a convicted cop killer. The roads are awful so they decide to detour to the local Lutree Sheriff’s Station, run by tough-as-nails Sheriff Jo Newman (Nicky Whelan). Meanwhile, unbeknown to anyone else, there’s a crew of toughened ex-military crooks led by Rafe (Louis Mandylor): turns out they have some unfinished business to resolve with Cody.
The big meanwhile, though, isn’t all the people with guns and attitudes, it’s the rising water level and the crocs just looking for places to weather the storm. Like the cozy little Lutree Sheriff’s Station. Put all these in a blender with a definite B-movie script and amusing and almost-but-not-quite realistic visual effects from CKVFX and you have a surprisingly entertaining if completely daft creature feature movie. To be fair, there’s not a single twist or turn in the story that was surprising, from the explanation of why honorable felon Cody wasn’t really a cop killer to the reason why Rafe and his crew wanted to talk to Cody, even at the cost of hijacking a prison transport bus.
Perhaps the most amusing, however, is the idea that Nicky Whelan (Hall Pass, Halloween II, The Wedding Ringer) is sufficiently tough to be a meter maid, let alone the head of a police department. The disbelief increases as she gradually finds excuses to shed layers of her uniform until she’s wearing a form-fitting cotton tank-top that unsurprisingly proves highly distracting to every man in the cast (which is to say every other person on screen). No complex gender identity poliitics here and there’s nothing woke about it either.
The Flood also frequently cuts to stock footage of floods, hurricanes, cars in terrible weather, and more. It’s surprisingly effective and well integrated into the narrative, helping set the mood as the weather gets worse, the waters keep rising, and those monster 10-foot crocs keep finding more and more ingenious ways to navigate the sheriff station. As required by the genre, these crocs are also preternaturally smart; one of them even figures out how to open a door when the water rises above the door handle. Impressive!
There’s no way around it, this is a Saban Films movie, and just as William Castle, Roger Corman, Ed Woods, and Golan-Globus Productions could be counted on for low-budget entertainment in the past, Saban also has a long filmography of cheesy, daft, and entertaining films. Over 200 films, including Vivarium, Guns Akimbo, Power Rangers, The Ledge, Shark Bait, and Siberia. No blockbusters in the catalog, but there are plenty of production companies that have never broken the $100 million club and even more that sell straight-to-streaming.
In the end, The Flood is pretty silly. The performances are at best mediocre, the sets are all designed with an eye to minimizing the budget, and the crocs in some shots look like they might have started life as Walmart pool toys. Okay, maybe that’s a bit harsh, but at no point will you believe the croc and the actor are actually in the same shot. But it turns out that just doesn’t matter. There’s just something fun and entertaining about creature features, and in that regard, The Flood delivers. After all, if you’re stuck in a Louisiana jail cell during a flood, you really should beware of crocs! Heck, that might be the tagline…