As most people know, Crawl is the new creature feature. Sam Raimi produced it, and it was released through his company Ghost House Pictures. It follows Haley, who gets a call from her nervous sister because she hasn’t heard from their father. Haley decides to look for him, discovering him injured in the crawlspace of her family house. Along with them are some alligators. The two have to find a way out of the crawlspace before a pending hurricane hits.
The plot is a little shaky I will admit, and the pacing and development are sort of thrown with this movie. To keep the viewer entertained, we have to see Haley and her father making progress in getting out of their situation. However, no real progress can actually be made because once they get out of the house, the movie ends. This means that predictably every time they start to move forward, something happens. A gator attacks, the storm gets worse, someone gets stuck, etc. Also, Haley’s developing relationship with her father is nothing new. She is angry about her parents getting divorced, blames herself, and her father thought he was respecting her need for space when really he was letting her down.
The combination of both of these means that the plot is the weakest part of the film. There was room to flesh things out more, and honestly, the chance of escape suddenly showing up then equally suddenly not working out is not the most compelling. Still, in that sense, the movie doesn’t need the best plot ever; it just needs to be entertaining. And while we might have seen it before Haley’s relationship with her father is sweet and while not unique, does develop well. So again, the plot ends up being the weakest link, but honestly, it’s a pretty strong chain, so that is not a bad thing. Also, you go to see Crawl for the gators.
The actual action of the movie is well done. There is not much in the way of suspense because the movie relies more heavily on jump scares. I tend to prefer suspense over surprise, but the surprise elements were well done, and the movie got me more than once. I also think it worked better for the type of film it was than a slow, suspenseful climb would have been. There are lots of gators, lots of jumps, a decent amount of gore and deaths. It ends up being a fun horror flick, and exactly the type I am likely to go back and enjoy over and over. There is also well-done humor to help keep the experience from being too dark and upsetting.
The acting is solid, especially given that most of it is just Haley and her father and even a lot of scenes of just Haley. Kaya Scodelario had a lot on her shoulders because she really needed to carry the movie, and she did. The film requires her to be tough, scared, emotional, serious, funny, angry, a whole plethora of emotions and all changing fairly rapidly. She does so and makes it believable. Haley makes some dumb calls, but she is a likable character that I was rooting for, and a lot of that relied on Kaya and her performance.
The gators looked solid as well. The reliance on CGI for some of the scenes could have easily pushed this movie into comical territory, but it manages to save itself from being just that. The sound design is impeccable and manages to balance the sounds of the storm without overwhelming the viewers.
There are also just some damn good scenes and a lot of intense moments of Haley vs. the alligators.
I personally enjoyed the hell out of this movie. I love creature features in general, and they are some of my favorite horror movies, especially from the 90s. The problem I have with the sub-genre is that in recent years it has been relegated to B movies almost every time. That is not to say that I don’t like ridiculous movies like Sharknado, I do, I just don’t like that those types of movies have almost completely taken over. That is also not to say that Crawl is not ridiculous itself, it kind of is, but it’s not intentionally trying to be a “so bad it’s good” movie. It is trying to be a fun, scary, slightly over the top creature feature like we used to get more of, and succeeds.
Honestly, I would have a hard time not recommending this movie. For someone that misses old creature features like I do, this checked so many boxes for me. It scared me, made me laugh, shocked me, made me tear up a bit, and I enjoyed the entire thing from start to finish. It is not a life-changing movie or even the best movie I have ever seen. However, it is a well-done movie with almost nothing for me to point out as being “bad” just again some things weaker than the rest. If you are a genre fan, you have probably heard the word “fun” tossed around a lot with this movie, but that’s what it is. It is a fun, well-done creature feature, and I hope it (and a few other recent movies) signals the rebirth of this sub-genre.