I’ll bet you never thought frogs were evil, did you? Well think again!
This tale centers around a creepily rich dysfunctional family gathered together for the grumpywheelchair-bound patriarch’s (played by Ray Milland, whose legend lives on in crossword puzzles) birthday in his Louisiana plantation house on an island. It’s an idyllic location, the house is surrounded by trees covered with Spanish moss, and the woods are populated with both boa constrictors AND rattlesnakes! Who knew they could live side by side in the bayou?
The over-zealously boating grandson accidentally knocks over the canoe of Pickett Smith (Sam Elliott), a nature photographer who is documenting the pollution on the bayou. Smith gets invited to Grumpy Grandpa’s 4th of July/birthday party, and unwittingly gets enmeshed in the attack of the killer… things that aren’t frogs.
All throughout the movie, in between scenes you see ominous pictures of frogs. The music growls menacingly as we see these creatures of doom fearlessly hopping along. However, although the island is overrun with frogs, frogs don’t actually inflict any harm on anyone; they just hop around menacingly. However, we do get to see stock-footage of other creatures who inhabit the island looking scary and pissed off. For example, there are these gecko-things that keep pouting for the camera, but do very little.
However, people keep dying (non frog-related deaths). Tyrannically Grouchy Grandpa refuses to let any of his family leave the island, but they attempt to anyway. Of course, they die.
Here’s the rundown of how they die:
Michael (the cousin) – accidentally shoots himself in the leg. While he’s lying on the ground, stock footage of tarantulas cover him with evil Spanish moss until he dies.
Kenneth (the other guy) – is in the greenhouse when some geckos knock bottles marked “POISON” off the shelf. The bottles break, giving off dry ice. Of course Kenneth goes to investigate, sniffing the gas, and is asphyxiated.
Iris (the Grandma) stumbles through the scrubby woods in search of butterflies, which she collects. After a lengthy sequence in which she gets entangled in all sorts of vines, falls into a puddle and gets covered with giant leeches, sees 10 different species of snakes lurking around causing her to scream, she finally gets bitten by a snake and instantly and anti-climactically dies.
Her husband is looking for her, and gets pulled into a pit filled with what looks like tar by an alligator. He is then left there covered in black sludge while the alligator looks smug.
Clint (the guy living forever in the shadow of his grandfather) ends up in the water and is pulled under by some unknown creature. We assume it’s a snake.
Clint’s wife runs to rescue him and is munched by a snapping turtle.
See any pattern here? These deaths are all connected by one factor: None of them are actually caused by frogs. In beween killings, frogs hop around threateningly, and occasionally triumphantly hop on the corpses, but they are essentially benign creatures…
Until it’s time for the increasingly mean, nasty grandpa to kick off. Left alone on the island after stubbornly refusing to leave, the frogs begin breaking the windows… the last scene is him falling out of his wheelchair… then his body is hopped upon by evil frogs. So… frogs caused him to have a heart attack. Is that the best they could do? They should have called this movie “Anything But Frogs” or “The Frogs Hopped On” or perhaps “Frogs Would Have Killed People, Really, If Frogs Were Dangerous.” But no. “Frogs” it is.
Oh yeah, like in all good movies, there’s a moral. I think the moral is: be nice to animals, and don’t pollute, or frogs will annoy you to death.