Entertainment » Movies


by Kevin Taft
EDGE Media Network Contributor
Friday Jul 12, 2019

Despite a title that in no way reflects the incorrect verb for how the film zips along, "Crawl" is a pleasingly solid B-movie that gives audiences what they expect from it. It's similar to "Snakes on a Plane," where you literally get what is advertised: People getting attacked by poisonous snakes... on a plane. Here, you know from the trailer and the poster that there is some nasty weather... and alligators.

The film by Alexandre Aja ("High Tension") opens with twenty-something competitive swimmer Haley (Kaya Scodelario "Maze Runner") coming in second place to another person on her team during a practice. Clearly feeling like she's never good enough, she is about to head to work when her sister Beth (Morfydd Clark) calls, asking if Haley has heard from their dad Dave (Barry Pepper.) You see, there's a hurricane headed straight for them, and she hasn't heard from him. Clearly, despite all warnings, Haley will decide to go down to see her father a few hours away to make sure he's okay. As a result, Haley will find her father in dire straits and then realize that she is, too. Why? Because they both end up trapped in a basement with angry, hungry alligators looking for food.

That's the plot of "Crawl," which knows what it has set out to do: Make us cringe, grab our armrests, and wince as nasty alligators keep coming after our main characters. While there are a few side folks that come and go, this is basically a two-person gig, a lot of which takes place in the basement. Knowing this, I'd give my right arm to see someone try to stage this as a play!

Aja is great with tension and suspense and while his movies really do straddle the B/C movie line, they are technically proficient and well-choreographed. He also manages to wrangle in good actors that make even the most implausible situations work because they know how to sell it.

British actress Scodelario — last seen in the Ted Bundy Netflix pic "Extremely Wicked, Shockingly Evil and Vile" — works overtime emotionally and physically, splashing through murky water, crawling on counters (is that what the title was referring to?), and repeatedly swimming away from those nasty beasts. Pepper is good here, too, as the loving but down-for-the-count father trying to protect his daughter while she is the one that really needs to rescue him. There's also their dog, Sugar, who trucks along gamely, trying not to get eaten.

Let's face it, the movie should have been called "Swim" because no one truly crawls in this movie — neither the human leads, nor the alligators. They all zip around in the water, either charging after their prey or trying to get away from the predators. Regardless, it's a fun 90 minutes. It won't change your life, but sometimes it's nice to escape the summer heat and the trials and tribulations of life, and watch someone else deal with what life has thrown at them for a while.

Kevin Taft is a screenwriter/critic living in Los Angeles with an unnatural attachment to 'Star Wars' and the desire to be adopted by Steven Spielberg.


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