Sunday, July 21, 2019

Movie Review: "Crawl" (2019)

Director: Alexandre Aja
Year: 2019
Rating: R
Running Time: 1 hour, 27 minutes

A woman and her father get trapped in a crawl space during a hurricane and realize they are surrounded by massive alligators. They must find a way to safety before the house floods, before they drown, or before they are eaten by gators.

Movie still for the horror film "Crawl" (2019) where Kaya Scodelario helps Barry Pepper with his wound before a hurricane
"I know you, Haley, you're not going to give up now." (Image Source)
We see a lot of survival flicks where sharks are the animals hunting people down, but hey, alligators gotta eat, too! "Crawl" (2019) is directed by Alexandre Aja, who is known for helming such movies "High Tension," "The Hills Have Eyes," and "Piranha 3D." It is written by Michael and Shawn Rasmussen, who have penned horror movies like "The Ward," "Dark Feed," and "The Inhabitants." Haley (Kaya Scodelario) is a collegiate swimmer at the University of Florida (go Gators!). As a hurricane approaches, she goes to locate her father Dave (Barry Pepper), who hasn't answered his phone or returned her calls recently. When she shows up at his apartment, he isn't there, so she decides to check her childhood home just in case. Haley finds her dad injured and unconscious in the house's crawl space. As the rain begins to pour, she discovers that what actually trapped her father down below is a giant alligator that crawled into the house through a storm drain. Now, Haley has to find a way to get herself and her dad to safety outside the crawl space and away from the gators before the floodwaters rise and kill them both.
Movie still where Kaya Scodelario's character Haley screams for help in the pouring rain in the 2019 film Crawl
"We are going to beat these pea-brained lizard-shits." (Image Source)
When we saw the trailer for "Crawl," we rolled our eyes because we thought it looked dated and dumb as hell. It looked like something that would appear on the SyFy Network under a mashup title like "Hurri-gator" or "All-icane" (both of which should be instantly greenlit, by the way). Imagine our shock (and delight) when "Crawl" turned out to be a lot of fun. This is an entertaining creature feature full of many moments of tension and edge-of-your-seat thrills, all served with a small side of cheese to go along with it. It isn't so goofy that it becomes a self-aware, meta parody, but make no mistake about it, the actors and director know exactly what type of movie they are in, and they absolutely make it work to their advantage. With only a minute amount of backstory to go on, we still found ourselves caring about the characters and rooting for them to escape in this woman vs. nature action/horror/thriller. Though some of the elements are unlikely to play out in real life, the basic premise of the film actually seems probable, which is not the case for all creature flicks like this. Gators are all too common in Florida, and we frequently hear news stories about how they wind up in houses and stores and hospitals and cars all the time. So, if floodwaters were to up during a hurricane, alligators might come swimming along with them. It's totally believable. And speaking of believable, the CGI is surprisingly stellar for a movie with only a modest $13.5 million budget. The rain, the floodwaters, the swaying palm trees, and the alligators themselves all look pretty spectacular and convincing to us.
An alligator swims past a drain pipe in a movie still for the 2019 film Crawl, starring Kata Scodelario and Barry Pepper
"I never thought it would end like this." (Image Source)
"Crawl" is one of the best summer movie surprises, and it will most assuredly be on the list of the top 10 biggest surprises of the year for us. It is unquestionably worth your time and money if you are into movies where people are trapped by nature-made creatures like 2016's "The Shallows," the obvious go-to "Jaws," or even something like 1983's "Cujo." This movie was a fun thrill ride from start to finish.

My Rating: 7/10
BigJ's Rating: 7/10
IMDB's Rating: 6.8/10
RT Rating: 84%
Do we recommend this movie: Sure, why not?

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