Crawl Movie Review
A movie that has won critical praise because it apparently doesn’t suck as much as everyone expected it to, Crawl is a mindlessly entertaining if somewhat forgettable feature creature that involves a hurricane, a lot of hungry alligators, and a father and daughter who bond over the experience of being trapped in a flooding basement filled with said gators.
Directed by Alexandre Aja, the goremonger behind High Tension and The Hills Have Eyes, but probably more relevant here, Piranha 3D, Crawl is a somewhat clever but largely by-the-numbers monster movie that maintains a certain level of tension yet is unable to really land a solid bite, let alone thrash you around like the soggy rag you probably are.
Kaya Scodelario and Barry Pepper are pretty much the only faces on screen most of the time and the two deliver surprisingly strong performances given a) the movie they’re in and b) the material they’ve been given. Both establish their characters as people you want to see survive, an unlikely proposition given the harrowing situation they find themselves in.
The alligator stuff is pretty decent, with Aja and his visual effects team finding that perfect balance between sort-of grounded and outrageously large/evil. The alligators don’t look entirely real but Aja makes it work nonetheless by turning them into the most insidious and ruthless of killers. With a tight 90-minute running time, Aja quickly ratchets up the intensity of each scene.
Even so, and coupled with the performances by Scodelario and Pepper, Crawl comes across as pretty uneven. In the first sequence where Scodelario’s character attempts to evade the alligators, she spends much of the time shouting to her dad about family stuff. I don’t know about you, but I’d be dead silent, sweating profusely, and focused on the task at hand.
Perhaps while crapping myself.
It’s little miscues like this that add up to a somewhat spotty experience, even if Crawl largely lives up to and arguably exceeds its low set expectations. Aja seems unwilling to just subject the audience to 90 minutes of alligator mayhem, which is perhaps a noble pursuit but one that doesn’t entirely work. The father/daughter bonding stuff works to a degree, but also serves as dull filler that kills the momentum of suspense at times.
Crawl is sort of fun and sort of good, but it still sort of drags and isn’t as good as the critics who went in expecting this movie to suck only to find it doesn’t entirely say it is. It’s worth seeing as a home rental, but not worth the $53 parking ticket I had waiting for me upon exiting the theater.
Review by Erik Samdahl unless otherwise indicated.