Review by J.T. Johnson
If you had told me going into this weekend that I would have enjoyed “Crawl” more than I did “Stuber”, I would have laughed. Yet, here we are as the film is a tight 90 minute creature feature that took me and the audience I was with on quite the thrill ride. The movie didn’t fare too well this weekend with “Spider-Man: Far From Home” only going into its second weekend and dominating once again, but with a $13 million budget, the film will make more than enough to be a decent hit for what it cost to make.
I think this film has the potential to become a cult favorite in the near future when others discover it later during its home release. Haley Keller (Kaya Scodelario) is a swimmer in college that is about to evacuate Florida when a hurricane is about to head their way. Haley learns from her sister that her father Dave (Barry Pepper) hasn’t been answering his phone.
Haley heads off to his house to see if he is alright. She soon finds him in the flooding crawlspace of the house, but he his badly injured. Haley soon discovers that these injuries are due to the fact that several alligators now surround them and they must find a way out before the house floods or the gators get them first.
The story gives you just enough information to care for Haley and Dave as they try to escape their predicament. The action and thrills come from trying to discover just how in the hell they plan to escape. Right off the bat, the alligators prove to be mean beasts to be reckoned with and that their escape will not be easy.
The performances from Scodelario and Pepper are pitch perfect and you never feel that anything they do is stupid or out of place. If they have to go into dangerous waters, it’s because that may be their best hope for survival and due to the circumstances surrounding them. There are a couple of moments where I cringed at a little bit of forced dialogue, but nothing else really felt out of place.
Thankfully, director Alexandre Aja uses a combination of practical effects and computer effects. My concern going in was wondering how the gators would look and, thankfully, they don’t look too bad. Rodeo FX is the visual effects company that brought the creatures to life and they deserve a pat on the back.
Now, I’m quite sure that everything these gators do doesn’t quite adhere to the realities of how gators actually act, but that really doesn’t matter in the moment. Everything in the movie is created to cause tension and keep you on the edge of your seat. “Crawl” takes you for a fun ride that you may not have known you even wanted to go on, but you’re glad you did by the time the credits roll.