It's woman vs. alligator during a hurricane in this horror.
We've had sharks in a tornado and now we've got alligators during a hurricane.
But never fear, Crawl is nothing like Sharknado and such comparisons do it a disservice - it's not as ridiculous as the premise would make it appear.
Kaya Scodelario stars as Haley, a competitive swimmer who discovers a hurricane is about to hit Florida. Neither she nor her sister can get hold of their dad Dave (Barry Pepper), so Haley drives down to his home to investigate, despite authorities warning her not to.
She eventually finds her dad in the crawl space underneath his house, having been bitten by something - and soon discovers what's responsible for the bite. With water levels rising and alligators on the prowl near their only exit, time is quickly running out for Haley and her father.
What makes Crawl superior to your average man vs. predator film is that it takes time to establish character and build the relationship between Haley and her dad, which is filled with resentments and grievances. This means that once the threat is introduced, you actually care about their survival - and the survival of their dog Sugar.
The concept is simple, and the film is basically just about two characters trapped in a basement. But director Alexandre Aja - the man behind The Hills Have Eyes and Piranha 3D - cleverly introduces new problems, increases the stakes even more and expands the world to keep the audience interested.
It occasionally dips into the world outside their home, showing us new characters who are quickly dispatched in gruesome ways as well as the escalating storm. This is where the film looks a bit cheap, because the digitally rendered stormy sky didn't look very realistic, but the alligators - particularly the ones in the crawl space - are quite believable.
Crawl isn't super scary, but it should keep horror fans entertained with its gory moments, occasional jump scares and building tension whenever they attempt an escape. Thankfully, it dodges a lot of obvious horror cliches, such as giving Haley a wind-up torch so it never runs out - like they usually do - but it could have made more of its claustrophobic setting.
Scodelario excels in this physically demanding role and makes us care for Haley and her survival. She is so strong and keeps fighting, just like her dad, who is equally cool.
Crawl isn't the first alligator/crocodile movie, yet the situation feels fresh and exciting. This 87-minute film whips along and is always gripping. It may be completely silly, but this is one entertaining and thrilling ride.
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