This year has been a pretty great year for horror films and there are still two months to go. I’ve been lucky enough to have seen plenty of entertaining genre flicks in theaters, making the movie-watching experience that much more grandiose. One of my favorites to experience in this manner was, without a doubt, Alexandre Aja’s Crawl.
Braving a category 5 hurricane, Haley is searching for her father. Once finding him, she soon realizes that there is much more than just a storm she needs to stay safe from. Haley and her father must now fight for their lives in a race against time and the alligators that surround them.
I have seen films that fall into every category and sub-genre that horror has to offer. Thrillers like Twister and Dante’s Peak have pit characters against unbeatable odds during natural disasters, while flicks like Grizzly and Jaws see rampant animals as the antagonist. Never before, however, has there been a film that has combined these two types of threats… until now.
Crawl is as much a natural disaster flick as it is a killer animal one. Not only are our protagonists fighting for their lives, literally staying afloat in a flooding house, but they are virtually surrounded by Florida gators at every turn.
Films don’t frighten me. I can’t remember the last time I walked out of a movie and thought to myself how scary of an experience I had just come out of. My experience with Crawl, however, is one that caused me great anxiety from start to finish.
Almost as soon as the film starts rolling and the setting is established, viewers are met with a palpable amount of tension. Haley, played brilliantly by Kaya Scodelario (Maze Runner: The Death Cure), is searching for her father with no possible way of knowing where is he or what is doing.
Without getting too deep into spoiler territory, Haley finds her dad, portrayed by Barry Pepper (True Grit, Seven Pounds), in pretty bad shape, having survived an attack from, you guessed it, an alligator.
This is where writers Michael Rasmussen and Shawn Rasmussen, along with Aja really ramp things up.
With the cellar flooding at a rapid rate, these characters must devise a plan to escape an unknown number of predators ready to devour them any chance they get.
Going into this film, I knew what I was getting into. A killer gator flick with some other survival elements thrown in. I did not, however, think that there would be this much danger for our main cast to overcome.
Watching only two actors on screen for 87 minutes may seem like a rather dull experience, but when those actors are as talented as Pepper and Scodelario, you really have nothing to worry about. It was a pleasure watching this on-screen father and daughter tandem fighting for their lives, digging deeper than most humans will ever have to in a natural lifespan. The scenes they had to shoot were no doubt incredibly physical and I cannot commend them enough for what they gave to this film.
If you’ve read my reviews in the past, you know that I generally stay away from other people’s thoughts as best I can. That said, public opinions, generally on social media platforms, are sometimes hard to miss.
Some of the complaints that I’ve heard or read about Crawl contain some of the most ludicrous remarks ever put to [the internet], at least regarding the horror genre.
This genre that we all love so dearly has seen entire feature-length films about killer rubber tires, psychopathic carousel horses come to life, and a murderous laundry press, but someone being attacked by an alligator and then performing one action or another still bothers you? Isn’t it entirely possible that someone who is experiencing both shock and a huge dump of adrenaline would be able to do some pretty extraordinary things? Add in the will to survive and those feats become even greater.
There are reports of about 1.5 million alligators living in Southern Florida, where this film takes place. Additionally reported are about 300 attacks on humans, 27 of which have been recorded fatal. You’re telling me that out of the remaining 273 individuals that survived these attacks, not one of them performed some super-hero type of action to stay put on this earth? Think about it…
As I bring myself back from my little rant, know that Crawl is an entertaining film from start to finish. If you’ve seen any of Alexandre Aja’s previous works, you know the man is no stranger to buckets of blood and gore galore. High Tension, 2006’s The Hills Have Eyes and, 2010’s Piranha 3D all feature their fair share of carnage and Crawl is no different.
Throw the iconic Sam Raimi into the mix, who acts as a producer on this film, and you know that there will be plenty of horror to go around. The collaboration of these two horror giants, which was 15 years in the making, has paid off big time. Bodies being thrown around like rag dolls and dismemberment aplenty are just a bit of what you can expect when pressing play on this 2019 survival flick.
Crawl at Home
Alexandre Aja’s Crawl is available now on on Blu-ray, DVD, and Digital from Paramount Pictures.
The Blu-ray of the film is presented in 1080p high definition with English 7.1 DTS-HD master audio, and French, Portuguese, and Spanish 5.1 Dolby Digital tracks. Also available are English, English SDH, French, Portuguese, and Spanish subtitles for the deaf and hard of hearing.
The DVD disc contained in this home release presents the film in Widescreen 16:9 enhanced format with the same French, Portuguese, and Spanish 5.1 Dolby Digital tracks that are available on the Blu-ray disc.
Paramount Pictures has packed this particular release with tons of bonus content including an animated motion comic book alternate opening, deleted and extended scenes, and a making-of behind-the-scenes featurette. Also included is a featurette on the special effects used throughout the film.
While extremely tense from beginning to end, Crawl is tons of fun. I had a blast not knowing where our protagonists were going to be attacked from next, creating for an extremely authentic and immersive experience.
At this point, I have watched Alexandre Aja’s entire body of work and I can say very sincerely that I am a fan, through and through. That isn’t to say first time viewers won’t enjoy this one just as much.
It has enough character development to make you care about who you are meeting on screen and enough violence to satiate even the most jaded horror fanatic. The special effects on display throughout, created with both practical and digital means, are impressive more often than not, making the film that much more entertaining.
Give Crawl a watch and see for yourself, as I give it 4.5 pea-brained lizard shits out of 5.