Directed By: Oklahoma Ward
Starring: Nicole Alonso, Torey Byrne, Tommy Ball
Tag Line: "The only thing more terrifying than being trapped is being hunted"
Trivia: In Japan, this film was released as Alien Crawl
Many movies claim they feature “wall-to-wall action”, but very few actually do. 2014’s Crawl or Die, an independent horror film directed by Oklahoma Ward, is that rare exception, a picture that grabs you by the throat in the opening scene and never, ever loosens its grip.
Crawl or Die is set in the not-too-distant future, a time when the earth has been decimated by a crippling virus. Things have gotten so bad, in fact, that mankind has built a settlement on another planet, aptly named “Earth Two”. In order to protect the world’s last fertile woman (Torey Byrne) on her journey to Earth Two, an elite task force, which includes Tank (Nicole Alonso), Snoop (Wil Crown), and Mic (Tom Chamberlain), is assembled. Their mission: to deliver the “package” at any cost. But the minute this band of warriors sets foot on Earth Two, they find themselves facing off against a deadly foe, a nearly-unstoppable alien creature with an appetite for human flesh. To escape the monster, the group heads underground, making its way through an elaborate tunnel system. With no idea where they’re going and a killer hot on their trail, the task force pushes forward, all the while realizing the next turn they take could be their last.
Aside from a brief bit of exposition, a flashback in which a General (David Zeliff) lays out the mission for the troops, Crawl or Die never lets up, immediately tossing us headfirst into a gunfight on Earth Two before following its characters underground, with their “enemy” doing everything it can to catch up with them. Shot with a hand-held camera and featuring rapid-style editing, these opening moments are certainly jarring, made doubly so by the fact we have no idea what’s going on (the exposition flashback mentioned above comes later in the movie). But the action is intense enough to keep our attention early on, and that intensity only escalates as, one by one, characters drop by the wayside, victims of a monster that is relentless in its pursuit. In one of the film’s most powerful sequences, several characters, hoping to get the jump on the creature, lay in wait for it at the end of a tunnel, only to fall asleep before it comes into view. As the weary warriors catch some much-needed rest, we spot the alien slowly crawling towards them, and wait for it to make a noise that will hopefully wake our heroes up. Though it lasts for only a couple of minutes, the tension this scene generates is nearly unbearable.
With its impressive creature effects (the monster bears a striking resemblance to the one in the Alien series, which, coincidental or not, makes it all the more frightening), solid cast (headed up by Nicole Alonso, who does a great job as a the lead bad-ass), and non-stop thrills, Crawl or Die pulls you in, shakes you around, & doesn't give you a chance to catch your breath.
This movie is fun with a capital “F”.