Written by: Aurora Caskey
Edited By: Grave Reviews Staff
Rating = 2/5 Graves
Director: Alexandre Aja
Producers: Justin Bursch, Greg Levasseur, Lauren Selig, and Sam Raimi
Writers: Michael Rasmussen, Shawn Rasmussen
Date Released: July 12, 2019
Kaya Scodelario as Hayley
Barry Pepper as Dave
Ross Anderson as Wayne
As a category 5 hurricane approaches Florida, Hayley (Kaya Scodelario), a college athlete, gets a call from her older sister after a swim meet because she cannot get in touch with their father, Dave (Barry Pepper). The backstory revolves around Hayley’s parents’ divorce and how it has impacted the family. Hayley blames herself because her father spent so much time away from home taking her to swim competitions. While they used to be close, Hayley seems to have lost touch with her father after her mom left. As a result, the family home was put up for sale.
Against her better judgement, Hayley drives south to where her father lives—and straight into the storm. She finally finds him in their old family home…but he’s not alone. An enormous alligator has taken up residence in the crawl space beneath the house. Haley and her father must reconcile and use everything at their disposal to fight for their lives and escape the creature.
For a creature movie, Crawl isn’t especially gore-filled. A lot of the violence is obscured by water. There are a few scenes of the gators chomping down, but the wounds are not shown in great detail. Hayley finds her unconscious father because Sugar, the family dog, guides Hayley there. Surprisingly, Sugar survives the film, which is rare. The only violence towards animals is human versus gator.
The Grave Review
I went into this expecting to love it because of my longstanding fascination with water-creature based horror. There’s something so unsettling about being in dark water, unable to see anything beneath you. But this film missed the mark for me. I think showing the gator fully on land ruined the effect for when the house was later submerged by the storm. Also, no one expects full realism from a movie like this, but the attacks and injuries on the main protagonists (Hayley and her father), were beyond ridiculous. Both were grabbed, bitten, and shaken by a 12 foot plus gator and seemed to have only minor wounds. It got to the point where the stakes felt extremely low because it was obvious Hayley would survive.
The second main issue I had was the lack of chemistry between the actors playing Hayley and Dave. Even if not depicting a romantic relationship, chemistry between characters, especially when there are so few, is absolutely essential to make a film watchable. Shortly after Hayley finds Dave, who is injured from a gator bite, they have an argument about her swim career. Bear in mind, they are trapped underneath a house and Hayley has just been chased by an enormous alligator. The timing of this conversation and their overall nonchalance about an insane situation just didn’t work.
Finally, Crawl succumbs to a problem that many horror movies have after the big reveal—it becomes an action movie as Hayley has a showdown with the gator. This is more of a personal preference since I am not a fan of action movies, but I found the last half of Crawl (2019) to be very slow.
Overall, it’s worth a watch because it’s entertaining, and the special effects are very good. Also, it’s rare to see a movie like this get the big-budget treatment and a wide release. If Crawl (2019) serves to bring horror to more mainstream audiences, I fully support it.
Grave Reviews gives Crawl 2 Graves out of 5 Graves.
Do you agree with our review of Crawl (2019)? Comment below.
You may also like our review on the 2019 horror film, Bloodline.