Director: Alexandre Aja
Release Date: August 2019
After so many bad horror flicks featuring humans fighting against creatures to survive, I was becoming resigned that this sub-genre would be dominated by straight-to-DVD B-movies while the cinematic horror or thriller released were mostly going to be about demons, ghosts or masked men, so when I came across the trailer for Crawl, it looked as though we were finally going to get a half-decent creature-feature film rather than the parade of silly cliched flicks that have come out lately, filled with bad CGI and mostly I was correct.
The first thing to note about Crawl is how much it has in common with thrillers than a horror films, meaning it’s best not to go in expecting the next Jaws or even Alien otherwise you’ll leave feeling a little disappointed, instead if you go in expecting a survival-thriller similar somewhere between Twister and Hard Rain but with added alligators, you will be in for a treat.
Evey creature feature has a gimmick and crawl is no different, providing what sounds like a straightforward plot with a suspenseful, and claustrophobic atmosphere, without making it feel too unrealistic, with the same to be said about the characters actions and how sensible they seem compared to most monster movies.
Now, this film doesn’t have the biggest budget, and it shows. The effects and overall production design aren’t mind-blowing, with some CGI backgrounds found lacking and the big bucks sensibly being poured into making the alligators look real, and given they’re the focal point, I can see why they went down that route. Especially as makers wanted to fill the last act with more gruesome alligator attacks filled with blood and gore. If the creatures looked fake, then all the tension would be for nothing. Be prepared to see some characters receive some gruesome injuries at surprising times, I just wish they hadn’t given so many of these away in the trailer.
Just ask the crew behind Heavy Rain or even Waterworld, filming in water can be difficult to perfect, made even more so when coupled up with confined spaces. Luckily, Aja and his crew produced a film where the action sequences never feel unrealistic, the locations make sense and the plot flows organically.
Kaya Scodelario has grown since her Skins and Maze Runner days and delivers a brilliant performance while developing some wonderful chemistry with her on-screen father, Barry Pepper. Both characters are given just enough development for you to care, though I wouldn’t say the script is the most imaginative for their backstories and the fact that she is a swimmer seems a little convenient, however, given all Crawl does well, I can forgive minor issues with the overall movie, after all this isn’t The Meg, where the whole film feels unrealistic or Deep Blue Sea where you have to suspend your disbelief to enjoy it. Here you have a situation that in theory could happen and characters that don’t come across as minor superheroes.
If you liked: Anaconda, Crawl Bitch Crawl, Rampage