Once upon a time creature features were considered blockbusters. Audiences gathered around to cheer for monsters like Godzilla or King Kong. Even now and again, we get a few surprises in the genre like Jaws, Deep Blue Sea or the cult classic, Anaconda. In some ways, these movies are great popcorn flicks. In others, they create a heightened sense of fear, horror or anxiety. Jaws sparked a fear of water for years after its’ release. Godzilla has spun off virtually a cult following and revolution. While in recent years, we’ve seen the serious re-imagining of the genre thanks to Godzilla: King of the Monsters and Kong: Skull Island. We’ve also seen the parodies as well - thanks to the eleven thousand Sharknado movies Syfy has provided us with.


The man behind 2013’s Evil Dead remake and Don’t Breathe approach the genre in a more grounded way that surely promises to induce some serious anxiety. Crawl tells the story of a father and daughter caught in a hurricane – only to be trapped by alligators while waiting for relief. With the growing army of alligators, raising waters and raging storms, what could possibly go wrong? Even from its’ first frames, the film is intentional with its tension. Constantly using its characters and situations to rejuvenate the tension to keep audiences on their edge of their seats. This is a truly terrifying theatrical experience.

Crawl establishes a disconnect from daughter and father very early on in the film. It’s only when the father, Barry Pepper’s Dave, goes radio silent during a hurricane – terror arises within his daughters. Kaya Scodelario’s Haley goes down to check on dear old dad. When you take that relationship tension that existed very heavily within the first two acts of this film, add in a hurricane with mounting water & man-eating alligators – tensions will no doubt run high. Crawl successfully uses every aspect of these three factors and executes a truly memorable and scary cinematic experience. Pepper has the power to break that tension through his sarcastic wits. His humorous one-liners are so well placed and intentional throughout the duration of the film. The humor element of the film may be the most surprising aspect of Crawl. With how intense the majority of it is, the witty nature of its comedy is another refreshing element it adds to its’ arsenal.


To say that Crawl is an intense movie would be a massive understatement. It is a well-crafted, near perfect horror experience. Crafting scares that latch onto you and bite a bit off. However there are a few narrative choices where the film divulges from that intensity – and no it is not the aforementioned comedic elements. It’s a subplot with Pepper’s Dave, in which he was going through a divorce. Viewers are left to infer that may be the reason for the disconnect between Pepper and Scodelario. Though it’s never quite said definitively. The subplot is irrelevant and misdirects audience for the matter at hand.


Overall, Crawl, is a beautifully intentional horror experience. Led brilliantly by Barry Pepper and Kaya Scodelario – the film manages to craft a tense ride from start to finish. Having storytelling elements of intensity between father and daughter, a hurricane and alligators – what truly is left to say that’ll make you keep the lights on after seeing this movie? The narrative of the film is absolutely stellar with strength that could have some of Hollywood’s biggest blockbusters blushing. A few narrative choices here and there keep this from perfection. Regardless, this is a film to be experienced. An absolute gorgeous film. Crawl is a film you definitely want to sink your teeth into.


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