We’ve seen it all before, Piranha DD, Snakes On The Plane, The Meg. And although I get they’re not suppose to be cinematic masterpieces, they’re just never good enough to be scary. So what made Alexandre Aja’s Crawl so different?
What I liked most about Crawl is that it was incredibly straightforward in terms of narrative, but I never once found myself bored. A massive hurricane is terrorising Florida and Haley and her Father find themselves trapped in their flooding crawl space with incredibly aggressive and hungry alligators invading their home. It does everything it needed to do, with introduction to our lead Hayley (Scodelario) we’re shown that she is a professional swimmer who is dealing with family trauma and tackling personal obstacles. With all this being shown to us, in the background we can see signs of a heavy storm, stalking Hayley like the gators later on.
Kaya Scodelario gave an incredible physical performance showing the fear and exhaustion that we would all feel put in this position, adding to the authenticty to what is essentially a a formulaic killer animal flick. She delivered some humour with ‘Apex Predator all day ‘without it feeling too forced which was brilliant. Unlike most creature features like this, I ended up actually caring about the characters due to the added human elements. Sure it may be cliched but Hayley and Dave’s father-daughter chemistry is explored and realised as the film goes on. Knowing what they’ve been through and watching them overcome it in this fight for survival, causes you to really root for them to survive (which I never do in these type of films). I mean yeah, every close encounter with the dog getting eaten I secretly prayed for Hayley to get eaten instead, but I still cared about her as a character.
I expected to come into this and laugh at some bad horror aspects and terrible CGI akin to Snakes On The Plane. I didn’t expect to be on the edge of my seat through this. Sam Raimi’s involvement is evident throughout with heart racing jump scares and some really gruesome body horror. I’m sure you’ve all heard of the alligator death roll, this was utilised well with people getting thrashed around, severed limbs and realistic bite marks making it legitimately horrifying. The cinematography was actually noticeably appealing and one of the best aspects of Crawl, with a blue/green colour pallette and clever framing intended to make everything feel horribly claustrophobic. This is what, for me, distiguished it from any other killer animal flick. The CGI gators also really add to the fear by looking as realistic as possible, lurking in the murky water.
Will You Enjoy?
Crawl is far from a horror masterpiece, but for a self aware, Summer flick about a girl trapped in a crawl space with a bunch of Alligators, it was brilliant. It’s entertaining, heartfelt, violent and I absolutely recommend you see this on the big screen.