Alligator (1980)

Lewis Teague’s semi-parody of “Jaws” is much better than one might expect. The screenplay is surprisingly effective, the pace is snappy, the attack scenes are eerie, and the whole thing moves at a brisk pace. But mostly what makes this movie work is its underlying sense of humor: Nearly every scene has in-jokes or references to other genre properties, and none of it is obnoxious or heavy-handed. Additionally, the special effects, while a little on the hokey side, are charming and look terrific, in particular the alligator’s first ascent to the streets. This is pure, gleeful B-cinema, and it’s all the more winning for embracing its disrepute than attempting to pass itself off as anything other than what it is.

Rating: ★★★ (out of 5)

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