Two Cents: FROGS

Two Cents is an original column akin to a book club for films. The Cinapse team will program films and contribute our best, most insightful, or most creative thoughts on each film using a maximum of 200 words each. Guest writers and fan comments are encouraged, as are suggestions for future entries to the column. Join us as we share our two cents on films we love, films we are curious about, and films we believe merit some discussion.

The Pick

Rattlesnakes in the bayou! Ahoy Two Cents Adventurers (Two Centurers?)! This week’s pick is the 70s environmental revenge film Frogs. To be honest, Liam missed having everyone talk about a horror film, so here we are. In Frogs, beloved cowboy and Dodge Ram salesman Sam Elliott gets mixed up with an eccentric invalid millionaire and his quarrelsome family as they prepare for a birthday celebration in their, uh, swamp mansion. But the festivities are cut short when the natural denizens of the swamp suddenly attack in full force.

Did you get a chance to watch along with us this week? Want to recommend a great (or not so great) film for the whole gang to cover? Comment below or post on our Facebook or hit us up on Twitter!

Next Week’s Pick:

Next week’s pick is the Texas crime thriller Bad Turn Worse, which did pretty well on the festival circuit but has also met with mixed reviews. Watch it with us and decide for yourself! It’s currently streaming on Netflix.

Would you like to be a guest in next week’s Two Cents column? Simply watch and send your under-200-word review to twocents(at)!

The Team


In the first minute of Frogs, AIP’s logo appears, Sam Elliott rides in on a canoe, and the camera hones in on a close-up of a frog while the title Frogs slams onto the screen to an ominous sound effect. There is nothing I don’t love about that last sentence, so from the start I was in. Minutes later, as other characters are introduced, I was pleasantly surprised that the gorgeous Judy Pace (a Two Cents veteran from Cotton Comes To Harlem) appears in a supporting role.

Frogs has all kinds of ridiculousness: A millionaire who has built his mansion in the middle of a swamp. Said millionaire responding to a snake on his dining room chandelier by shooting it with a pistol he apparently keeps on his person for just such an occasion. A body that’s clearly breathing seconds before being revealed to be dead. Many instances where critters are obviously tossed into the shot from offscreen. And my personal favorite, when several lizards enter a greenhouse to kill the man inside, the last one actually closes the door behind himself. How polite! Then of course there’s the laughable title “Frogs”. The movie is full of all kinds of killer critters including snakes (Rattlesnakes! In the swamp!), gators, tarantulas, a snapping turtle, and even killer moss. What frogs there are are mostly toads, and they don’t really do anything except hop around and get sinister close-ups.

I give the cast major credit for getting right up close to the creepy-crawlies, some of which are actually quite dangerous — especially the guy who wrestles an alligator. I was also legitimately startled by a scene in which a woman’s hand is bitten by a rattlesnake. (@VforVashaw)


The collective noun for frogs is “army”. That must’ve got hack director George McCowan’s creative juices flowing to churn out this silly National Geographic documentary/eco-horror about nature fighting back against pollution-loving mankind. Filmmakers whinge about how hard it is to get a movie made, yet cheap, easily-mockable bollocks like Frogs seem to be ten a penny.

However, bashing films like Frogs is a waste of time and the critical equivalent of punching (admittedly hopeless) kittens in the face. Only idiots expect quality cinema in low-budget schlock where amphibious anarchists orchestrate a disappointingly muted attack against cantankerous Ray Milland and his dysfunctional family.

Neither scary, gory nor funny, its sheer ineptitude keeps you watching — alongside a typically taciturn Sam Elliot (unfortunately sans moustache) as a compassionate ecologist who will blow nature’s goddamn head off if it fucks with him, and Milland’s psychotically stubborn, pesticide-loving patriarch obsessed with exterminating frogs because, of all things, they’re ruining his birthday and keeping him awake at night.

But any film which sees frogs coordinating the cutting of phone lines and rallying the denizens of the Florida Everglades (lizards, birds, spiders) to assail a bewildered cast of amateurs is, in its unpretentious way, strangely likeable. (@jconthagrid)


The name Frogs is kind of a misnomer. There are not, in fact, giant or mutated frogs going around murdering people. Such a masterpiece still eludes us (we can have killer fucking bunnies but no frogs, somehow). Instead, this is kind of a proto-The Happening or American Long Weekend, wherein ignorant dumbasses have nature’s wrath shower down upon their deserving heads.

What I’m saying is, this is a movie where a dude gets killed by slowly accumulating piles of moss. Another lady is mauled to death by a turtle. By a goddamn turtle, you guys.

I appreciate that none of this is played as camp (in fact, one death was reshot because it was considered ‘too goofy’ but somehow turtle-mauling and moss-covering made the cut) and there’s something genuinely unnerving about the close up shots of swarming reptiles and insects, mixed with the Tobe Hooper-esque drones and squeals on the soundtrack. But the dragging pace and This Is Very Serious tone turn long stretches between deaths into something of a slog that no amount of shirtless Sam Elliot can possibly amend.

Really wish someone had warned me about all the snakes though. Was not a big fan. Fucking snakes. (@TheTrueBrendanF)


Nature. Reptiles. The South. Rich white people.

Frogs has so many awful and horrifying things in it, I hoped I would love it. That was not the case. It does have its charms, confirming simultaneously how little I can trust both the environment and those who seek to destroy it. Frogs presents a nature that I should have a healthy respect for, but I will still keep my distance from. I get it, getting killed by a giant snapping turtle is perhaps not THAT realistic. However, knowing such a thing even exists is enough to warn me off even going.

I was hoping for more carnage though. Frogs has even more of a message than one would expect from the ecological version of a rape revenge movie, this time the victim being nature herself. This message creates tone issues, such that multiple kills are not played for the maximum carnage factor that might have added more fun to the proceedings. Granted, there is still enough that I don’t feel like it’s a waste of time. Perhaps it was an issue of taste, or of budget, but Frogs needed more animal on human bloodshed of the grossest kind. (@liamrulz)


When it comes to movies about nature rising up and killing us all… The Happening is still worse than Frogs. But only because Frogs features an embryonic, mustache-less Sam Elliott who spends the whole movie threatening to steal away every straight man’s heterosexuality. (He came THIS close). The fact that Frogs is telling a parable about the crime against nature which is white colonialism should make it pretty spectacular, and believe me, seeing everyone revolt against Ray Milland’s stodgy old plantation owning patriarch was gratifying. The exploration of racial injustice via a couple of servants at the plantation and a black supermodel attending a family gathering as one son’s date is ballsy as well. It is unfortunate, then, that Frogs feels like an absolute chore to watch even at a mere 90 minutes. Excruciatingly long, ineffective kill sequences and dozens of camera pans to reveal a snake or a lizard sitting somewhere “ominously” after an inane sequence of dialog kill all of the momentum here. Even to the point where seeing a repulsive old white establishment relic “get it” had me looking at my watch. And what’s up with almost no one getting actually killed by frogs? (@Ed_Travis)

Our Guests

Justin Harlan:

I’ve been working on a “Liam’s Film School” piece on Jodorowsky for like 2 months and it felt very appropriate this week, as the vision of exploding frogs from The Holy Mountain continued to run through my head while I saw wildlife getting their revenge on the cast of Frogs. While the human attack on ecology in the film felt far less insidious than the aforementioned cruelty I witnessed in Jodorowsky’s weird-ass-masterpiece, it really feels like vindication when the attacks begin.

We, as humans, give zero fucks about trouncing animals, plants, and whatever is in our way. If we choose to spray pesticides throughout a jungle island in order to celebrate our birthdays without pesky critters getting in the way, so be it. Civilization comes at a cost, right?

“Fuck your celebrations and fuck your civilization!” That’s what these frogs, snakes, lizards, and spiders have to say. “We gave you a chance to live alongside us and get along, but you ruined it… and now you will pay… especially that asshole Jason guy!”

PS. Any movie with Sam Elliot is awesome. The end. (@thepaintedman)

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