Movie Review: Alligator (1980)

Synopsis: Roughly 12 years after being flushed down a toilet after being purchased at a Florida tourist trap, a pet alligator by the name of Ramone has grown to an enormous size in Chicago's sewers thanks to a laboratory conducting illegal hormone experiments on dogs and dumping their corpses into his feeding area. Believing the series of deaths are homicide related, detective David Madison searches for the killer only to not be believed when he discovers the truth.

Who's in it? The movie stars Robert Forster, Robin Riker, Dean JaggerMichael V. Gazzo and Henry Silva


Review: Our youngest daughter was at theater rehearsal last night so; while waiting, my wife and I picked out a movie to watch. I came across Alligator on Peacock and since it had been forever since I last saw it, we chose it. Overall, I was happy with that decision.

The movie did, at times, remind me a bit of Jaws. The premise was basically the same, with an enormous creature eating people and a cop (Forster) not being believed by his superiors when he tries to warn them. Plus, while having the local herpetologist, Marisa (Riker), also happening to be the same little girl who had Ramone as a pet seemed like it would be an interesting twist, I was disappointed to find it had pretty much zero impact on the plot.

That said, the movie had a lot going for it. For one, unlike way too many movies I've seen lately, the pacing was pretty good. There's not a lot of downtime between the alligator scenes and there were just enough variables, ranging from the game hunter (Silva0 they hired to shoot Ramone to the prominent businessman behind the lab experiments (Jagger) to keep things from becoming too predictable. 

I wasn't overly crazy about the predictable romance angle between David and Marisa because it seemed a bit forced but did appreciate the movie making it a very small part of the overall plot and did admit it made her concern for the detective during the final scenes a bit more believable. And while the movie doesn't resolve the issue relating to David being fired, everyone who deserved a comeuppance received one. So, as far as endings are concerned, I could live with the one this movie had. Heck, it even set up a potential sequel while still providing enough closure to make this a stand-alone movie (something too few movies do today).

Final Opinion: The movie was made 44 years ago and some of the special effects make that obvious. Plus, as I mentioned, it will likely remind you of Jaws at times. However, the overall plot and pacing make this an enjoyable movie to watch, and I do recommend it as a result.

My Grade: B


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