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A SHORT MISSION: Matt Harris-Freeth’s ‘CROCODILE’ Snaps a Chilling Message

We teach a lot of different things to children. Respect your elders. Eat your greens. Look both sides before crossing the road. This is information passed down throughout the ages. Our grandparents taught our parents and our parents taught us. One day you’ll turn around to your own spawn and say “hey offspring, don’t pull a face or whatever.” Anyway, one of the biggest things that echoed through generations is that you should never, ever, ever (ever) talk to a stranger. And you should always alert a parent when it happens.

But what happens when a talking puppet crocodile talks to you? Is that allowed? Well, in this upcoming three minute short, Crocodile, a scary scaly puppetry beast tempts a young Harry. After arguing with his mum, for an unknown reason, the young lad absconds from the car with his yellow balloon and on the way, he comes across a foul- crocodile who tempts him into the life of loneliness and tempts him to carry on running away.

The puppet was created by Jim Parkyn, the lead Aardman model maker, so there is this jaunty element to Crocodile, both the film and the character, that it is easy to see why the young boy would be so allured by the dumpster eating swearing creature. And Crocodile himself adds a lot of humour, though not a lot of it lands in the right places, to make the child smile and trust him. In this colourful green creature, a lot of the films quirks and comedy come through. Part of it is distasteful whilst the delightful farting and “do it your own way kid” attitude tickles Harry enough to put his trust in the puppet.

Which is where the chilling message lies, and that makes for a richly dark film. As Harry’s mum goes searching for him, and he is found to be gone – with just the Crocodile puppet laying on the ground, it is clear what has happened and it is sickening, awful and leaves the ending cold. For anyone who is a parent, it is a tentative watch. Showing just how black comedy could be, Crocodile and director Matt Harris-Feeth greatly balance the hilarity, the oddity and then the disparity.


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