“Crawl” stars Kaya Scodelario, Barry Pepper, Ross Anderson, Anson Boon, and Jose Palma. Released on July 12, 2019, the film is about a woman who must survive against a group of savage alligators during a hurricane.
The film is directed by Alexandre Aja, who also directed films such as “High Tension”, “Mirrors”, “Piranha 3D”, “Horns”, and “The 9th Life of Louis Drax”. Florida is a perfect place to enjoy the sunshine and visit the main attractions. When it comes to hurricane season, however, it’s pretty much the opposite. During hurricane season, Florida is filled with floods, strong winds, and…alligators? Geez, Florida is not getting a lot of luck these days. This next film I’ll be looking at today represents that type of situation and…hoo boy, it’s going to keep me out of the water for at least a couple of weeks. With two horror masterminds, Alexandre Aja and producer Sam Raimi, behind the camera, is it able to serve as a genuine scare-fest for horror fans?
The story in “Crawl” was simple and to the point. A young woman named Haley (Scodelario) attempts to rescue her father (Pepper) from a Category 5 hurricane as well as a pack of hungry alligators. I was a bit concerned about how the film was going to turn out based on the story’s simplicity. Most horror films have plots that are straightforward, but they didn’t provide much depth in their characters to make me care for their survival, so I was worried that this film might suffer the same fate. Thankfully, it didn’t. It had all the ingredients that were needed to make a non-stop thrill ride, but it also offered some effective father-daughter moments to make me hope that they get out of this mess alive. While the emotion during those moments wasn’t strong enough to overcome the film’s hurricane, it instead gave us a well-directed and nicely-paced fright fest that didn’t overstay its welcome and relied mostly on tension and fear to scare its audience rather than excessive gore. It had a small amount of gore to make some people wince, but not enough to make them vomit. Aja had an impressive vision of what could have happened if this situation were to occur in real life, and he handled that vision with style and craftsmanship. I could not tell you how much my heart was pounding throughout the film. It was pretty darn terrifying. The main two actors, Scodelario and Pepper, were really good in their roles, although I wouldn’t call Scodelario this year's scream queen. She’s good, but far from perfect. As for the supporting cast, bleh, who cares about those guys? The main characters were the only ones that are worth caring about. Those guys were just an all-you-can-eat buffet for the alligators. The visuals were also quite good even though I can clearly tell that they’re CGI based on the film’s budget. The CGI for the alligators was suitable in terms of making them as frightening as the real ones, but I wouldn’t say the same for the CGI that was used for the storms.
Overall, “Crawl” might not impress everyone who has a fear of alligators, but for those who are looking for a terrifying good time at the movies, it’s a well-deserved summer horror surprise. While the story didn’t pack any strong emotional beats when it comes to the father-daughter moments, it had enough scares and tension to provide a simplistic, yet effective, experience that’ll keep audiences away from the Florida beaches for the rest of the summer. Yes, that includes me. I’m seriously not in a mood to be the alligators’ dessert.