Get Down With ‘Crawl’

by Ben Martin

I’m not sure about the rest of the world, but the Southern U.S. has a unique brand of animal attraction. Gator farms- businesses where alligators are bred for their meat, and for any inclined customer to take a gander. My family and I went to a gator farm in South Carolina when I was a kid. For the most part, I remember enjoying the place. Admittedly though, I also remember being a bit worried that one of these big suckers was going to escape and eat me for lunch. A decade or so later, I found myself petting a muzzled baby alligator at a horror convention. I knew then, as I ran my fingers across its scaly back that I would never get that close to a full-grown gator.
Call me a coward, but I don’t care for slimy or scaly creatures at all. That is unless they’re featured on the silver screen while I sit safely in the comfy confines of my local movie theater. Thus, when I heard that Sam Rami (Spider-Man, Drag Me to Hell) was co-producing a creature feature, directed by Alexandre Aja (Horns), centered around a gator, I got excited. I figured Crawl (2019) would either be fun trash; or a helluva’ an entertaining B-movie.
Crawl takes place in Florida during the chaos of Category 5 hurricane. Like everyone else in the fastly-flooding state, collegiate swimmer, Haley (Kaya Scodelario), must seek shelter. But first, she wants to ensure that her estranged father, Dave (Barry Pepper), also has a refuge from the storm. However, much to Haley’s shock, she finds her dad injured and trapped in the basement of his rapidly flooding home. Worse yet, there’s a giant alligator swimming around in the basement, looking to chomp down on a #2 father-daughter meal combo!

Like many other modern flicks, Crawl has that blue hue to it that all the major studios seem so fond of these days. Initially, I was slightly annoyed that I was going to spend 90-minutes watching yet another flick that looked like this. But, I quickly realized that along with dark greens, grays, and browns, that Alexandre Aja and his long-time cinematographer Maxime Alexandre (Shazam!) have designed the perfect visual palette to make you feel as if you’re in the middle of the Category 5. The film’s cinematography was the first indication that the director completely understands and has embraced this schlocky creature feature. I’ve been following Aja’s career in the horror business since his directorial debut with High Tension; which premiered in France in 2003, and finally made its way stateside in 2005. I think High Tension is excellent, but since then I’ve found Aja’s filmography to be a mixed-bag; mostly comprised of lackluster horror remakes. Thankfully though, with Crawl, the director proves he’s back on top of his game.

Folks, Crawl is as I hoped, B-movie fun at its best! Writing duo Michael & Shawn Rasmussen (The Inhabitants) have crafted a screenplay that moves at a fast clip and features plenty of surprises; some of which are quite gory. When combined with Aja’s direction and the two lead actors abilities’ to carry the picture from set piece-to-set piece, Crawl just works! This movie is some of the most fun I’ve had at the movies this year, and I have no doubt anyone who watches it will as well. However, I do feel that Crawl is the kind of flick you can only have fun with once. But outside of a lack of rewatchability, which is a more a fault of this subgenre than it is of the movie itself. Outside of the first shot of the alligator being shoddy, and some mild pacing issues, Crawl is perfect for what it is!

Crawl (2019) is In Theaters Now!

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