CRAWL (2.5 out of 5) Directed by Alexandre Aja; Screenplay by Michael Rasmussen and Shawn Rasmussen; Starring Kaya Scodelario, Barry Pepper, Morfydd Clark, Ross Anderson, and Cso-Cso the Dog; Rated R for bloody creature violence, and brief language; Running time 87 minutes; In wide release July 12, 2019.
Crawl is not a movie that demands much of a review. Once you see the trailer, you are either in or you’re out. Seeing a poster alone may leave you inquisitive, but creature feature fans know exactly what they are getting.
Daughter Haley, a competitive college swimmer, has just completed a relay that leaves her feeling defeated when she gets a call from her sister. Their father hasn’t been answering her calls and there is a category 5 hurricane approaching that requires everyone in the area to evacuate. Haley takes it upon herself to go looking for him, starting first at his new apartment (where we are introduced to a DOG WHY WOULD YOU INCLUDE A DOG IN THIS KIND OF MOVIE?? TO MAKE US EXTRA STRESSED FOR THE REMAINING 80 MINUTES??*) then moving on to their old home to see if maybe he’s found a reason to go there instead.
In the first phone call with her sister, Haley delivers all of the exposition anyone could ever possibly need for anything, ever. We learn of their parent’s divorce, Haley’s blame upon herself for their separation, her father’s stubbornness in the sale of their childhood home, and the danger of the hurricane that’s on its way. Better to get all this out of the way now and save the remaining time for chompin’.
After another 10-20 minutes of Haley shouting, “Dad?” she finds him the crawlspace, unconscious and wounded. She starts to drag him out, and an alligator literally crashes through the entrance to the crawl space and the fun we paid for begins.
Usually, the weather also plays an antagonist. However, in Crawl, the hurricane is merely an inconvenience–a fly they keep trying to swat away while they deal with the other, more serious, issues at hand. The real bad guy in Crawl is a character I’ve named Unresolved Daddy Issues. Between the swimming/crawling for their lives, Haley and her dad hash out their emotions and learn about each other and yadda yadda yadda.
In order to keep the plot from quickly growing stale, the Rasmussen brothers include a few almost-rescues and an almost unreasonable amount of gators. And gore–but not as much as one would expect with an R rating.
If you’ve made it this far in this review, you’ve either already seen it and just want to see what others have to say, or you won’t see it because you think it’s too scary. Is it scary? Nah. Is it stressful? Yes. But as someone who doesn’t like to ride rollercoasters, I’ll take silly creature-features for my adrenaline rush any day.
*The dog survives, don’t worry.