Director Alexandre Aja collaborates with producer Sam Raimi in Paramount Pictures’ Crawl. The state of Florida is in the midst of a Category 5 hurricane with a mandatory evacuation set in place by the governor. College student Haley Keller discovers that her father Dave is missing and sets out to find him. When Haley finds her dad massively injured, she must find a way to save them both. Not only will Haley have to deal with the rising water from the hurricane, she must also contend with alligators who have made their way into her childhood home.
Crawl is inspired by an actual alligator event in the Carolinas during Hurricane Florence. Given that basements are extremely rare in Florida because most of the state is at or below sea level and the ground is largely sand, one would think the film should have taken place in the Carolinas. However, Crawl is so much fun, I was able to overlook the geography issue.
One of the most impressive elements of Crawl is the film’s visual effects. It’s apparent that the goal was to make the alligator looks as realistic as possible. There were moments, where I thought I was looking at a real alligator.
Clocking in at a brisk eighty-seven minutes, Crawl wasted no time setting up its simple premise of disaster flick meets creature feature. One of the key elements of a successful disaster film or creature feature is a reliable protagonist. Kaya Scodelario portrays Haley as a resourceful and smart hero who is willing to do anything to survive. Barry Pepper is also quite good as her father, Dave.
Screenwriters Michael and Shawn Rasmussen made the wise choice to limit secondary characters in the film and focus solely on the main characters. While the film does have a short run time, the script gives the audience a chance to care about the relationship between Haley and Dave. The writing duo could have easily opted to make Crawl a spring break set film, or added the common horror character tropes of comic relief or a love interest; thankfully, they do not, which allows Crawl to stand out.
The horror genre is director Alexandre Aja’s specialty, and while the alligators in the film are clearly visual effects, Alexandre Aja still created a tense atmosphere. Instead of using music to create suspense, the director presented a real life situation. The jump scares in the film are timed with expert precision and there were a few moments that got me. Creature features are not new to Alexandre Aja, as he directed 2010’s Piranha 3D. While Piranha 3D was fun and gory, the film was forgettable due to its borderline satiric feel. With Crawl, the director returns to the promise he showed with his 2003 debut, High Tensionwhen he successfully mixed suspense with gore.
Crawl is one of the first surprises of the 2019 summer movie season. With genuine scares and impressive effects, as well as a fast-paced script,Crawlis sure to entertain audiences.Crawl also succeeds as a date movie or a movie you can see with your kids if you allow them to see R rated movies. There were moments where the tension was so intense on screen, you could hear a pin drop in the audience. During one particular moment in the film, my wife and son both grabbed onto me. Serving not only a suspenseful creature feature, but also as a father/daughter story, Crawl is worth the price of admission at your local theater.
MPAA Rating: R
Final Grade: B+