Review: CRAWL Is A Silly, Intense, Claustrophobic Thriller

Kaya Scoldelario as Haley Keller in CRAWL
Kaya Scoldelario as Haley Keller in CRAWL

Crawl is the latest creature film from director Alexandre Aja (Piranha 3D) and is also this year’s unexpected summer hit. A grounded concept that isn’t overly unrealistic, but heightens the situation just enough. Clocking in at nearly 90 minutes, the film doesn’t waste any time, as from start to finish it does precisely what is supposed to do.

Written by Michael and Shawn Rasmussen, Crawl stars Kaya Scodelario and Barry Pepper as a father and daughter duo who find themselves trapped in a crawl space during a hurricane. They aren’t alone, as the water rises, so do the number of alligators that occupy the crawl space with them. The premise is simple, and the film never goes outside of that simplicity by keeping its two leads interesting, staying grounded, and building endless amounts of tension till the film’s last shot. However, it is ridiculous at times; the decisions made by the characters can be mind-boggling given the severe nature of the situation.

Photo Credit: Sergej Radović. © 2019 Paramount Pictures. All rights reserved.

After a brief introduction to the characters, the Rasmussens launch an edge of your seat thriller that is carried by a rekindled bond between a young woman and her father. Haley (Scodelario), is a swimmer at the University of Florida who doesn’t have the best relationship with her dad. Crawl highlights her swimming background to add logic to the madness that awaits her and to illustrate her chances of surviving compared to everyone else. Haley isn’t just a swimmer; she has been practicing since her childhood, which means the audience should now believe she can survive a space full of alligators (horror cliche). Due to the film’s no time to waste pacing, it’s easy to overlook all of the logistics of the matter.

Adding to that, Scodelario and Pepper are a delight to watch as they try to stay away from their sharp-toothed guests. Both portray characters that the audience can get behind, specifically Haley, who uses her swimming abilities to save herself as well as her father. From the moment Haley is presented, the viewer is made to feel for her because the expressions Scodelario gives says that she isn’t entirely happy in life. While the decisions in their efforts to survive are quite doltish, they learn from their mistakes. Blending an emotional arc between two likable characters, and putting them against savage creatures is always effective, but Crawl does it better than most.

crawl basement
Photo Credit: Sergej Radović. © 2019 Paramount Pictures. All rights reserved.

Surprisingly, the film might not be as gory as some would like. Usually, when Aje is attached to direct, that means blood-splattering is a sure thing. Crawl is more interested in focusing on the fear of the unknown, and as the water rises, the character’s chances of survival decrease. However, Aje again shows he is capable of directing a tightly wound, suspenseful story. Crawl is an improvement from some of his previous work, but not enough to welcome a return to form. The film only falls short in its logic, and the never-ending makeup story between our two leads, which grows tiresome.

CRAWL Final Thoughts

Crawl is a film that wasn’t expected to be as good as it was. Due in part to the fact that similar projects over the years have been riddled with bad acting, poor storytelling, and more illogical nonsense that one can manage. Luckily, is no Sharknado  and is a surprising summer blast due to its emotional story, solid performances, and intense action sequences.

Did you see Crawl this weekend, what did you think? Comment below with your thoughts and how many stars you would give the film.

By Eric Trigg

 I am Horror fanatic that can't go a single month without watching something horror related. Buffy Summers, Sidney Prescott, and Harry Potter for president. The fact that sequels exist proves there is no perfect film. 

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