Crocodile was made not long after the moderate success enjoyed by Anaconda (1997) and in particular Lake Placid (1999) and just at the point when a number of companies were relishing the opportunities afforded by the then-new CGI technologies to churn out cheap monster movies for consumption on the video market. Nu Image, a company mostly known for their action films and more recently hits like The Expendables (2010), made a score of such cheap monster movies and killer shark films over the next few years with the likes of Shark Attack (1999), Octopus (2000). Spiders (2000), Rats (2003), Shark Zone (2003), Larva (2005), Mansquito (2005), Raging Sharks (2005), Kraken: Tentacles of the Deep (2006), Attack of the Gryphon (2007), Mega Snake (2007), Flu Bird Horror (2008) and Shark in Venice (2008).
By the time of Crocodile, Tobe Hooper was well into a decade of making consistently mediocre, forgettable and frequently downright bad films. In fact, his career nosedived so much so that while he was putting out about a film every second year in the 1990s, the decade ahead becomes increasingly more sporadic in its output. Crocodile is no different. It is as though Hooper no longer cared what he was making and is only going through the motions. He has simply gone with the standard formula plot of teens in peril that countless horror films have done before. The teens here are much more unlikeable than most almost none being sympathetic and their journey on foot back through the swamps almost entirely consisting of bickering and bitching at one another.
The killer alligator/crocodile film has always had a dodgy reputation see the likes of The Great Alligator (1980), Dark Age (1987), Killer Crocodile (1990), Croc (2007), Primeval (2007), Freshwater (2016) and The Hatching (2016), with only a few exceptions like Alligator (1980), Black Water (2007) and Rogue (2007). Crocodile is no different. The opening scene with the crocodile attacking a fisherman in his vehicle looks ridiculous. Wisely thereafter, Hooper keeps the crocodile only briefly glimpsed for most of the film, which at least effectively turns it into a shadowy menace. In Hoopers favour, he does pull off a couple of decent attack scenes with the full-size K.N.B.-provided crocodile one where Sommer Knight is trapped with her foot caught in a tree root and is devoured alive; another with the croc bursting in through a convenience store wall, smashing the store up then chomping a pick-up truck and causing the entire store to explode from spilt gasoline.
Nu Image produced a sequel with Crocodile 2: Death Swamp (2002) from the same screenwriters but without Tobe Hooper in the directors seat.
Tobe Hoopers other films are the classic The Texas Chain Saw Massacre (1974), the Southern Gothic Eaten Alive/Deathtrap (1977), the fine tv adaptation of Stephen Kings Salems Lot (1979), the slasher film The Funhouse (1981), the Steven Spielberg-produced ghost story Poltergeist (1982), psychic alien vampire film Lifeforce (1985), the remake of Invaders from Mars (1986), the underrated The Texas Chainsaw Massacre 2 (1986), the dire pyrokinesis film Spontaneous Combustion (1990), the haunted dress tv movie Im Dangerous Tonight (1990), an episode of the John Carpenter anthology Body Bags (tv movie, 1993), the erotic film Night Terrors (1993), a terrible Stephen King adaptation The Mangler (1995), the weird apartment dwellers black comedy The Apartment Complex (1999), the slasher remake Toolbox Murders (2003), Mortuary (2005) and Djinn (2013), as well as directing the pilots for various genre tv series.