Cert 15 Stars 4

Cinemas reopen with a big bite of adventure as a killer crocodile goes on the rampage in this brisk, tense and claustrophobic action thriller which delivers a torrent of terror and no-nonsense popcorn thrills.

Featuring everything I find most terrifying in nature such as small spaces, deep water, hungry predators and angry Australian women, it sees five attractive young holiday-makers explore a remote cavern under the wild forests of Northern Australia.

But a tropical storm cause the cave system to flood and traps them beside a subterranean lake with a rising water level, and they realise they must play chicken with a croc if they want to survive.

Four of the cast have served time on Aussie TV in either Neighbours and Home and Away, and top billed Jessica McNamee featured in Jason Statham’s giant shark thriller, The Meg, and as well as experience of underwater on screen peril she brings a fierce determination.

All of the actors put in a shift forced to spend most of the time in the dark, wet and cold, and dealing with a pregnancy subplot which is pure soap opera, and that’s ok as this is a movie where the fun is all about guessing who gets eaten next.

‘Don’t splash’ is about the best of their limited survival knowledge, and they kindly make jokes about Paul Hogan’s Crocodile Dundee, so I don’t have to.

Director Andrew Traucki was responsible for 2007’s Black Water which also featured a vicious croc, and also 2010’s killer shark flick The Reef, so he’s definitely on solid ground when filming in the water.

Making a virtue of his lean concept Traucki keeps up a decent rate of knots and sensibly keeps the croc at a menacing distance or up close and very personal, and this is a good fit with last year’s croc shocker Crawl, or 2016 shark thriller, The Shallows.

With preview screenings tomorrow {Saturday} it’s on release from next Friday.