Crawl (2019) – see you later alligator

dir. Alexandre Aja

Crawl is a snappy summer horror fun, that blends just the right amount of unseen family drama with gruesome alligator madness.

Love the trailer but honestly it showed all the golden bits.

I had gone to see Crawl last weekend, gleefully aware that there was going to be a bloodbath (quite literally). However, I never expected the film to turn out the way it did. Needless to say I was happy and the impression lasted for more than a day which speaks volumes in the way I tend to perceive things.

Heading back home after everyone has been evacuated in a category five hurricane to find her father is already a brave move from Kaya Scodelario‘s character Haley. Unfortunately, circumstances led to both Haley and her father being gravely wounded and trapped in the crawl space of their family home. The story heartlessly left them to fend for themselves after hopes they had of escape gets crushed in the jaws of multiple bloodthirsty alligators.

The efforts to use natural hazards in order to prevent our characters from achieving what they want are commendable. It’s these sorts of situations that could happen at any time during a flood, making the movie feel more relatable and has us rooting for the them. However, in certain films, this aspect of realism can be tucked into our pockets in order to create a more engaging experience.

Our main character Haley is brave and strong and a fighter. Through Kaya Scodelario‘s incredible physical acting, Haley shines in this movie as being a beacon of hope, not just for her father, portrayed by Barry Pepper, but for the audience as well. However on the other hand, emotionally, there was a lack of substance. The dialogue felt stilted and bland. Most of the time, names were being yelled so much, to the point where it felt almost comical.

The bond between father and daughter was established well and adds a subtle touch of family drama to an otherwise mindless animal slaughter film. In fact, it was that combination in itself that left me wanting more after the final scene. I was invested enough in the characters to not want to see them die which was sufficient enough to keep me engaged with Haley and her father.

Though, it is an alligator film, not a family drama and I intend to review it as such.

Alexandre Aja never shies away from showing off the gators with their powerful tails, rough skin, and most importantly jaws snapping onto limbs. There were amazing close up shots of the alligators reptilian eyes and the slowness of their movements on land, staying somewhat true to how these animals act in real life. The gore in this movie is there and definitely showcases the massive power these reptiles possess. It is effective in making us as humans powerless.

One thing that bothered me was that the wounds they had sustained were deep and exposed, however they moved through the water and the house as if they had sustained little to no injury. This brings me back to my point about realism. Films like these aren’t meant to be realistic, certain things are meant to be exaggerated in order to provide entertainment. And for Crawl, it works like a charm.

Spoilers ahead!

Moving on to the ending, it was climactic but not so. They managed to escape the alligators, Haley was portrayed as the hero. That she overcame her inner struggles and proved to herself that she could do it. However, with all the buildup of her character, and Dave Keller, and their entire family, even Sugar, we hoped to see something more. We started with their lives away from the flood and hurricane, so fittingly, we would wish to end with the same thing. It was a satisfying ending for everything that happened, however not a satisfying ending for the characters themselves.

And also to mention, it’s funny. Very funny, I feel mean saying this but it can be seen as a comedy if you’re in a lighthearted mood.

But yes if you enjoy gore, a solid suspenseful, animal thriller and/or comedy this is the movie for you.

7 .5 out of 10 alligator teeth.

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