Now this probably sounds like your classic run of the mill creature feature film but instead I would call it more of a drama. Sure there is a creature here but he doesn’t appear all that much and when he does it’s not like he’s all that much of a threat either. The guy has some extremely slight superhuman strength but even then I wouldn’t say that it is very high tier. You get a lot of running around and detective work though along with a human villain who is definitely more on the really weak side.
The film starts with Joyce and Paul being married. They figure that things are really looking up now and their lives will be perfect but all of a sudden Paul gets a letter that shakes him to the core. He quickly runs off the train they were on and vanishes into the wind. Joyce didn’t know anything about him beyond his name so she looked and looked until one day she finds his old address from when he was back in college. She heads to this old house in the middle of nowhere but the owners claim that they haven’t ever heard of him and that Jane should go. Well, Jane decides to stay along for the ride until she can find answers but will these answers prove to be too much for her?
First I have to say that Paul is a pretty awful character the whole time. Just running off when you’ve been married like this is absolutely insane. I don’t care if he’s turning into a gerbil, you have to stay there and explain things. He took the coward’s way out here and put Joyce in a ton of emotional turmoil. She had nothing to go off of and had to try for ages to find any leads to him. All of this could and should have been avoided. In the end it was his pride which got in the way here since he just didn’t want her to see him like this but that is no excuse at all. He just looks really bad no matter how you slice it and there was no coming back from this for him. Of course I’m glad he saves her later on from the other villain but she wouldn’t have been in that situation from the start if he had helped her.
Joyce gets a lot of credit here because she was basically walking into enemy territory in order to find her husband. She withstood all of the threats against her and just kept on fighting because she refused to give up. I think a lot of other characters would have folded by this point but she stayed strong and did not waiver in her convictions. This is the kind of character that you absolutely want to have on your side at all times. Now she does let out a yell and a bit of panic near the very end but I would say it was warranted and she would have quickly recovered if a certain other character didn’t jump the gun yet again. Yeah Joyce puts up with a whole lot in this title.
Then you have the main villain here Manon. He wants to destroy all gators after one bit his hand off a while back. Now he just lives for his revenge and it’s clear that he guy is extremely unhinged in all of his appearances. He’s always yelling and yelling and yelling. His goal of destroying all of the gators also comes off as extremely petty and then he ends up going into a whole new level of sick when he attacks Joyce. I was definitely not expecting that. I knew he was a villain here but that just didn’t seem like something he would do so that was definitely surprising and it did completely destroy his character.
Lavinia has a fairly big role since she is the master of the house. She has her secrets to be sure and wants Joyce out of there but ultimately isn’t in a position to force Joyce out. Joyce is physically more powerful than Lavinia after all and isn’t a pushover in the slightest. Then you have Dr. Mark who is good at the experiments but ultimately nobody is perfect and he needs more time. Paul keeps pressuring/threatening him to work quicker but to an extent you can only do this for so long before something backfires. As it is he may have also succeeded if not for someone messing up the tech.
As always the writing here is pretty good. I did like Chaney’s accent that he used for the film which worked rather seamlessly and I almost didn’t recognize him for most of the film. The pacing is good here and really the only thing that holds this movie back a lot of the time is just how most of the characters are no good. I liked Joyce but she was really the only very solid character here. Everyone else was either unlikable or made very questionable decisions the whole time. This film would have played out so much differently if Paul had just trusted his wife instead of dashing off into the great unknown the way that he did.
I should mention that most of the film is a flashback too and so in the present two doctors are deciding if they should give Joyce her memories back or not. They could do this with ease but are also worried that it could mess her up in the future. There isn’t a large debate on this as it’s mainly just used as an excuse for them to find out what she’s been through. Of course it’s fair to say that you absolutely should give her the memories back since they are a big part of who she is. They just need to do it carefully instead of making all those excuses. Yes her life is a lot happier now but knowing about the past now makes the doctors responsible for helping her remember it so that she can be complete again.
Overall, The Alligator People lacks the charm of a true creature feature because there is no monster or anything like that to defeat this time. The costume for the Alligator Man also isn’t the most impressive one around. It’s not going to strike fear into anyone’s heart after all. I liked seeing Joyce sleuth around and figure things out but ultimately for this film to have been better it also just needed more fun characters and some action. The Alligators also had me nervous with how much shooting was going on but fortunately they were careful in the end. I don’t think this one has a whole lot of replay value but as an initial watch it should keep your attention. It’s definitely not bad and it stays afloat long enough to stay right in the middle there.