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Film / Dinocroc

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Dinocroc is a Sci Fi Channel monster movie starring Charles Napier, Costas Mandylor, Joanna Pacuła, and Bruce Weitz. Produced by Roger Corman, it first aired in April 2004.

A mutated "Chimeric Crocodillian" escapes from a genetic research lab and begins attacking people around the town. The local dog catcher, Diane Harper, teams up with a welding artist, Tom Banning, and an Australian crocodile hunter to catch the animal.

It had a novelization that added a few details to the story.

This film includes examples of

  • Animal Wrongs Group: While using shelter dogs as bait is reprehensible, the heroes are nearly killed and risk preventing a trap for the monster from working by freeing all of them before Dinocroc can be caught. The creature has killed dozens of people at this point. Though had the trap failed as a result of this, the first people the creature would've eaten would be the sheriff and his men, so perhaps it evens out.
  • Artistic License Palaeontology:
    • The novelization mentions that the titular creature is a Sarcosuchus. It refers to this creature as both "a dinosaur" and the "ancestor to modern crocodiles". Neither of these are remotely true: Sarcosuchus is a member of the crocodile clade, but modern crocodilians aren't descended from it, nor is it particularly closely related to them (a similarly large crocodile, Deinosuchus, is far closer). And obviously crocodiles aren't dinosaurs. note 
    • Making matters worse, given the description of the creature in the book and the novel's cover, they seemed to have gotten Sarcosuchus confused with a Spinosaurid dinosaur. The creature in the movie itself looks more properly crocodilian.
  • Ceiling Cling: Bizarrely pulled off by the dinocroc to escape from its pen at the beginning. A case of Accidentally-Correct Writing as some ancient crocodilians and even some modern species are surprisingly good climbers, especially as infants.
  • Conflict Ball: The sheriff decides to use the dogs from his daughter's animal shelter as bait for no explainable reason.
  • Convection, Schmonvection: Using a cutting torch to remove handcuffs.
  • Death of a Child: The protagonist's little brother tries to hide from the monster when he gets his entire body gorily devoured in one bite, leaving just his severed head behind.
  • Expy:
    • Dick Sydney, the crocodile hunter. He's supposed to be a herpetologist, but seems to be more of an expy of Crocodile Dundee rather than Steve Irwin.
    • Visually, the titular Dinocroc appears to be a mix of Zilla and a certain Spinosaurus.
  • Fanservice: Lots of attractive girls and guys in beachwear.
  • Gorn: though not as much as you'd expect. Much of it is made rather goofy by the poor CGI.
  • Heroes Love Dogs: Zigzagged. The protagonists don't seem to care that Tom's brother's dog is missing early in the movie, but when dogs are used as bait for the monster later they risk their lives to save them.
  • Informed Species: In the novelization, it's only ever identified as a Sarchosuchus imperator, not as a genetic hybrid. Problem is, the actual creature looks nothing like a Sarchosuchus (even its head is very , very wrong), more resembling a Raisuchid or Spinosaurid. To make matters worse, the cover of the book shows an animal that is pretty clearly a Spinosaurus (and nothing like the movie monster). Some material for the movie allays this slightly by stating dinocroc is a hybrid splice between a Suchomimus, ancient crocodilians, and modern crocodiles; which do actually look fairly similar to it.
  • Karma Houdini: The sheriff faces shockingly little consequence for using live dogs from the shelter as bait.
  • Kick the Dog: There's a lot of near literal dog kicking in the movie. An early Jerkass Victim is commanded by the head researcher to put out food for the escaped dinocroc, so he adopts a dog from the shelter to feed it. A three legged dog, no less.
    • The sheriff also does this as part of the final trap for the monster, using all the animal shelter's dogs as bait. He then handcuffs the main characters (including his daughter) when they object.
  • LEGO Genetics: The monster is apparently a mixture of a crocodile and an unnamed dinosaur that's "related to the crocodile". The result mostly looks like older depictions of Postosuchus.
  • Made of Iron: The crocodile hunter actually calls it "made of steel" after he breaks his knife off in the monster's face.
  • Never Smile at a Crocodile: Halfway between this and a dinosaur.
  • Ominous Latin Chanting: The soundtrack does this constantly. It seems like they want to set the dinocroc up as the antichrist.
  • Once is Not Enough: The initial attempt to kill dinocroc only looks like it worked. It takes a train to finish it.
  • Plot-Relevant Age-Up: The dinocroc has a ludicrously fast growth rate of growing two feet in length in one day according to the scientists, then grows to the size of a large truck within a few days.
  • Sequel Hook: A completely unexplained second dinocroc wanders out of the bushes at the end, assuming its not the same one as before who recovered from its wounds. The movie's actual "sequel" has nothing to do with it though, assuming it's not the same individual.
  • Super-Persistent Predator: The number of people this thing apparently needs to eat in a day is huge.
    • Unlike real crocs, this one is apparently all about chasing it's prey cross-country
  • Swallowed Whole: Happens onscreen to the head of the creature's development after she stands in front of it, believing it to be dead.
  • Too Dumb to Live: Many characters, but especially the researcher that causes the initial escape. After one of the experimental creatures kills the other, she walks right into its enclosure and promptly dies.