Monday, October 25, 2021

#2,648. Crawl (2019)


Director Alexander Aja’s Crawl is a high-octane, action-infused thrill ride, filled with gnarly beasts that generate tension to spare. But unlike other movies of this ilk, Crawl never loses sight of its characters, and their plight is what gives this rollicking creature feature its center, as well as its heart.

College athlete Haley (Kaya Scodelario) drives straight into a Category five hurricane to search for her estranged father (Barry Pepper), who isn’t answering his cell phone. Making her way to the family’s former home in the everglades, she finds her dad - injured and unconscious - lying in a a crawlspace underneath the house.

Unfortunately, he’s not alone; two enormous alligators have also moved in, trapping father and daughter, who now must find a way to escape before the hurricane unleashes its fury.

The gators in Crawl are positively terrifying, made doubly so by the fact the main characters (and we the audience) seldom know where they are, or when they will strike. Haley’s initial encounter with the gators results in several effective jump scares. Toss in a category five hurricane, with raging winds and torrential rains, and you have a situation that grows more desperate by the minute.

Yet what makes the thrills and screams in Crawl so effective are the lead characters, played superbly by Scodelario and Pepper. We immediately sense the tension between the two; Haley remembers all too well how her father pushed her to become a champion swimmer, and resents the fact that he and her mother divorced a few years back. Yet we also see the strong bond they share, as well as their determination to survive, regardless of how dire things seem.

The creature effects in Crawl are outstanding, as are the scenes when the gators attack. One particularly gruesome sequence, involving a family looting an abandoned gas station, is executed to perfection. Yet all of this would have been for naught without strong central characters, and thanks to Scodelario and Pepper, Crawl features two of the strongest in recent memory.
Rating: 9.5 out of 10

No comments: