Crawl is a fast-paced gator ride that absolutely thrives in worst-case scenarios. Director Alexandre Aja delivers an effective R-rated creature feature that builds on tension and reliable performances.
Horror director Alexandre Aja teams up with horror producer Sam Raimi for Crawl, an R-rated creature feature that delivers on the scares and tension in good old-fashioned alligator style. Kaya Scodelario gives a bold and convincing performance that compliments Michael and Shawn Rasmussen‘s perfect-concept script wonderfully.
Haley (Kaya Scodelario) is a swimmer that has fallen out of touch with her father/former coach. She’s lost her edge and questioning her future as she receives a call from her worried sister, wondering where their father (Barry Pepper) is as a hurricane approaches. Despite her better judgment, Haley pays a visit to her father’s house, in hopes of locating him and getting out of dodge before the storm worsens.
Had she found her dad in good health and without problems, then horror director Alexandre Aja‘s latest nightmare would have never existed and thank goodness that she didn’t, because Crawl is the perfect summer horror flick to sink your teeth into.
It plays off of an awesome concept, written by Michael and Shawn Rasmussen. Two people are trapped in their basement with some hungry alligators. With every minute, more and more water floods the area, which makes it incredibly hard to avoid getting turned into a snack, let alone escaping with all of your limbs.
Crawl is fast-paced, well-shot and efficient. It knows what kind of film you came to see and it mostly delivers. It delivers on the unique premise, it builds on the suspense and it reminds you never to step foot in a lake or ocean in fear of what lies beneath.
The R-rating helps too, delivering bloody deaths and untampered reactions to said incidents. It’s not an overly gory film, but it handles its interactions with the scaly lizards with the appropriate amount of carnage and bodily harm.
Crawl does try to rekindle a broken relationship between a young girl and her father and while these brief moments occasionally come across as sappy and corny, they do give the film a rounded-out feel that makes the characters likable and relatable. The film at its best is about overcoming fear, never settling for second and believing in yourself. It’s all of this wrapped in a well-oiled horror machine that pits our humans up against some of the scariest and most realistic-looking creatures that are done up in CGI wizardry.
I was honestly impressed with how not distracting the effects felt. The alligators had enough texture and detail to make them feel like real threats — it’s worth noting that the film is darkly lit and takes advantages of the murky water and lack of light to better represent the computer animation.
The interaction between the people and the gators also felt like there was some real weight in the game.
Crawl is an awesome little summer romp, but it does struggle sticking its landing. It’s not that it’s a bad one, but an incomplete one that just halts the ride and throws you off to the side. I’m not sure if there was potential sequel ideas or if they just wanted to end it on a hard edge, but Crawl feels like a movie that could’ve used another 10 minutes for some real closure.
The summer of 2019 has mostly been full of stinkers and misfires, which makes Crawl an achievement in effective horror movie making that shouldn’t go by unnoticed. I’m surprised Paramount sunk very little marketing and press into the film, because it’s surely going to play like gangbusters, especially to those craving more creature features on the big screen.
See Crawl in a loud and dark theater with as many people as possible.