PEOPLE across Sedgemoor who volunteered as extras for a film about crocodiles on the Somerset Levels have been praised by the director.

Production company Sabre Films chose the Levels as the perfect location to film its British comedy-horror, The Hatching, which is said to “do for the moors what Jaws did for beaches”.

Between 60 and 70 background extras were needed, taking roles from villagers to pub drinkers.

Speaking at a private screening, which the Mercury attended on Sunday, director Michael Anderson said: “Special thanks go to the extras.

“The part at the end where they form an angry mob and react to someone being devoured by a crocodile was a brilliant piece of acting.”

He describes the film as a mix of Hot Fuzz and Jaws as two hungry crocodiles pursue the locals of an idyllic English village.

The film was produced by Nigel Wooll and Chantelle de Carvalho. Chantelle said: “We had an overwhelming response following our appeal for extras. We actually had to turn some people away because there were so many.

“We hope for a cinema release and we are looking for a distributor.”

Stars included Primeval's Andrew Lee-Potts and Laura Aikman (Casualty, Not Going Out) as the leads, while Bristolian Justin Lee-Collins took up a supporting role.

But Somerset actress Hazel Atherton was also praised for her performance as Mrs Wem.

The Mercury caught up with Hazel, who is from Churchill near Cheddar, after the screening. She said: “I think the idea of crocodiles on the Levels is interesting because it is something that could actually happen as a distinct possibility. Having grown up in the area, I found it easy to imagine.”

Also making an appearance was Sean Briffett, joint owner of Westonzoyland butcher S and E Briffett, whose shop was chosen as a location for one of the major parts of the film.

He told the Mercury: “It was the first time I've seen it and it was strange to see myself on screen. They were here filming for three days. It was fun having severed body parts around.

“I've talked to a few of the locals who are pleased to have been in the film. It was weird knowing the area and seeing how in reality the film is shot over a wider space than it appears.

“It was very good and the mood worked well. The humour was also very Somerset humour.”

The Mercury newspaper also made its debut film appearance when it was shown twice during the film.

Areas in the film included: the Railway Inn in Ashcott, Load Lane in Westonzoyland, Stanmoor Road in Burrowbridge, Aller and areas around Glastonbury.

The Hatching previews in London on Thursday.

The film sees a man returning home to run the family business in Somerset after 15 years away from his childhood friends.

But there is a sinister undercurrent to the idyllic village setting that seems to harbour a dark secret - people have been disappearing, and it all seems to be centred around the old quarry.