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A young woman, while attempting to save her father during a category 5 hurricane, finds herself trapped in a flooding house and must fight for her life against alligators.


Horror legend Sam Raimi of the Evil Dead franchise teams up with Director Alexandre Aja (The Hills Have Eyes) to bring us this exciting popcorn creature feature.  Because of their collaboration, I assumed this movie would be an over the top gruesome and disturbing Splatter horror film but instead it is a clever survival horror that builds suspense and anxiety of the unknown. 

Although Crawl’s story is nothing original, what it does well in comparison to similar movies is includes some well-executed character development with the 2 main lead characters. The Father/Daughter relationship between Kaya Scodelario and Barry Pepper is at the heart of this movie and it’s a welcome narrative thread amongst all the chaos. 

Upon first viewing, I felt the movie was inconsistent with how to be undetectable by the alligators and this did take me out of the viewing experience slightly, but then I thought “why am I overthinking this”?  We do not watch these movies for their nature realism but to watch alligators stalk and attack helpless victims, which this movie delivers on.

With the characters being confined to the crawlspace for most of it’s runtime, the movie successfully gives you an overbearing sense of claustrophobia and makes you feel that you are trapped in the crawlspace with them.  Due to this, I found myself looking out of frame to try and spot the alligators knowing they could be prowling just around the corner.  There is a good mix of psychological horror, good old-fashioned jump scares and an element of a typical disaster movie.  The category 5 hurricane is a character in itself and adds challenges for our protagonists to overcome and is a severe threat as the movie progresses.

With only a 13.5-million-dollar budget, Crawl utilizes the CGI effectively by only showing the alligators in their entirety a handful of times.  I think the showing less is more approach worked well for the film because it means the CGI looks more polished and this is most noticeable in the underwater scene when Kaya Scodelario is swimming through a drainpipe trying to escape the crawlspace whilst evading a prowling alligator.

The absolute star of this movie is the scruffy terrier ‘Sugar’ the dog.  As the audience, we grow an attachment to Sugar and every near miss-encounter and unknown fate gave me heart palpitations wondering whether the dog would survive (of which I will not spoil as I encourage you to watch the movie yourselves).

The script does include some obvious clichés but, in the end, Crawl is a fun horror movie and will keep you entertained for its runtime.  In my opinion, there are other creature feature movies I would prefer to watch but if you enjoy films like Deep Blue Sea, Lake Placid and Anaconda then Crawl will satisfy your needs to watch a movie of this genre.

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