Cast: Kaya Scodelario, Barry Pepper, Ross Anderson, Anson Boon
Director: Alexandre Aja
Well, here we go again with another “summer installment” for a genre. Last summer we had the The Meg, this summer we have Crawl to take care of our man vs. nature movie craving. These movies are only effective when they embrace how ridiculous their premises are and try to create the most ridiculous premise possible. Now, am I going to give this movie more leeway because it centers around a character who goes to the same college I went to? Technically yes. However, is Crawl also a welcome surprise to the summer monster genre? Definitely yes.
The film follows Haley Keller (Scodelario) a college athlete who swims for the University of Florida (this is the best choice she makes in the whole movie). When a category five hurricane approaches south Florida, Haley goes back to her father Dave’s (Pepper) house to see if he is ok. What she finds is that his house is swarmed by a family of vicious alligators that destroy everything in their path. With the water rising and the alligators constantly hunting them, only time will tell if the two of them make it out alive or not. Based solely on that description, you can probably figure out how ridiculous this movie is without watching it. The number of alligators increases exponentially throughout the movie to the point where it becomes hilarious. Seeing two humans take on a pair of alligators seems pretty reasonable, but when you add in all their steroid-using babies, at the very least you’ll be in for a few laughs along the way. Regarding some of the more gory moments, there are more than enough moments to make you uncomfortable and squirm in your chair. After seeing Midsommar, there aren’t a whole lot of moments that can really creep me out anymore, but to a more casual viewer these moments are towards the upper end of the genre’s spectrum. The best move this movie could’ve done was make the decision not to take itself too seriously, and as a result of that it avoids becoming one of the biggest duds of the summer. When we see other movies in this genre treat themselves like they are the most important movies of the year, it creates an atmosphere that ends up being boring more than anything. Understanding that Crawl is only 87 minutes, it’s almost impossible to make a horror movie boring when every minute counts. While the premise and end results won’t be surprising to anyone, Crawl still provides solid entertaining for a movie that easily could’ve ended up on the Sy-Fy channel. Sure there’s no emotional attachment to either of the main characters and the only thing we can rely on this film doing is giving us a few moments of suspense, but what else can we really expect from a film like Crawl? It came in, entertained audiences, and has made almost three times its budget so far. It will disappear from most of our lives faster than it came into it, but as long as it wasn’t offensively bad is anyone that upset about watching this movie?
Overall, Crawl is exactly the type of movie you think it is, but it’s much better than it has any right to be. You would expect a movie about massive killer alligators to be campy and borderline unwatchable, but Crawl has just enough campiness where it comes off more as charming rather than clichéd. Does it help that our lead character went to the best athletic school in the country? Absolutely. For her wise decision and the feeling that the movie gives off to find a balance between scary and goofy, Crawl is a quick, fun ride that will give you every moment of tension you’re looking for this summer.
Overall Score: 7/10