Crawl Review: More than a Natural Disaster Movie

Crawl has its issues but is overall a very tense and entertaining disaster movie with a solid story underneath. 

When I first saw the trailer for Crawl I had two thoughts. One, it looked intense, two, I wasn’t interested. The trailer shows the main character being bitten by gators twice and since they showed that you have to assume she survives both bites. If you know me, fair or not, the level of believability in a film will affect how much I like it. I can still enjoy a film that doesn’t make any sense, of course, but the more believable the better. Just by the trailer I knew that this one wasn’t going to give me any of that.

With that said, my mom said that the movie looked interesting and I do love my mom so I agreed to go with her. I have to say that I was pleasantly surprised by many aspects of the movie, though it definitely delivered on making me expand my imagination on these gator encounters.

Elevator Review

Crawl was an intense movie from start to finish and takes you into the heart of a hurricane before trapping you in a crawl space with large reptiles. Though that’s the main point to the movie, the family story line was a nice surprise.

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The Story

Crawl is the story of a father and daughter who get stuck in a basement together during a category five hurricane in Florida. Kaya Scodelario (Maze Runner) plays the daughter, Haley, who is a swimmer at the University of Florida. She gets a call from her sister Beth (Morfydd Clark) who tells her that she can’t get in touch with their father. Their father lives in the part of the state that is about to get hit hardest by the hurricane so Haley is begged to go check on him. Haley and her father have not been on speaking terms but that doesn’t mean that she wants him to be in any danger.

Haley goes, struggles to find her father, and then when she does she realizes that he is injured and she is in danger. The rest of the film revolves around them trying to figure out how to get out of the basement past the alligators and get to safety. Other people become involved at different points but they simply serve as gator bait so they get to have some wins.

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The Gators

Bad CGI

One of the first things I have to point out about Crawl is that there are several moments of bad CGI when it comes to the gators. Now, for me personally it doesn’t take much away from the movie but I know that’s going to be a big deal for someone out there. This mostly comes into play when the gators are not submerged and are moving toward the camera. The movements are robotic and the gator is very clearly not in the environment it’s moving through. I might have chuckled at this but, again, it doesn’t take away from the movie to me.

 Unrealistic Behavior

Look, I know nobody goes into a movie like this expecting a National Geographic level real work lesson on gators but this was a lot to accept. The gators in this movie were acting more like piranhas in a feeding frenzy than alligators and there were so many. It’s almost like they weren’t in a lake where tons of humans lived. Again, this didn’t take anything away from the movie but there were a lot of eye roll moments.

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Father-Daughter Story

I mentioned earlier that Haley and her father were not on speaking terms and the part of the story pertaining to their relationship was my favorite part of the movie. It was truly a pleasant surprise and even got to me emotionally. As a child of divorce I felt a lot of the things Haley mentions when talking to her dad. I also was able to feel the way she expressed how she felt. Even the way her dad responds to her reminded me of a moment or two I had with my father when I was younger. Of course, this ordeal forces them to deal with the issues they’ve been avoiding and it also makes you pull for them harder.

Tension

This movie is tense throughout. It starts before you’re even dealing with the gators as Haley is driving down in the hurricane to get her father. Once the gators are involved nothing feels safe. Haley and her father are stuck in a place that they don’t belong and as more and more water feels the room, they’re taken out of their habitat. The water is where the gators live and the slow progression toward the humans losing any advantage works perfectly to build the dread. Crawl even had the nerve to get you attached to the family dog who also has to escape these hungry gators.

Crawl does a great job of making you trust nothing. Escape plans fall through multiple times throughout the movie so you start to feel like things are hopeless for the pair at some point. They definitely did their job in this regard.

Overall

Crawl did the job of a natural disaster movie and a claustrophobic thriller. They also did a great job of making me care about the characters (especially the dog) so it really was a fun watch. If you enjoy tense movies and don’t care about things being grounded in reality then you’ll enjoy Crawl. Now I wish they hadn’t shown us so much in the trailer but that is an unfortunate trend that doesn’t appear to be ending any time soon. Even if you don’t get into the tension there are enough funny moments to make it entertaining. Add it to your rainy day list.

-Bibs

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