A young woman tries to save her father from a devastating hurricane,
but ends up trapped in his flooding house with a swarm of vicious alligators.
Directed by Alexandre Aja
Written by Michael Rasmussen and Shawn Rasmussen
Starring Kaya Scodelario, Barry Pepper,
Morfydd Clark, Ross Anderson
The underwater creature feature has been done to death. Ever since Spielberg put a camera in a shark's mouth and gave us Jaws, every remotely scary underwater animal has become an attempted horror icon. Just look at Anaconda, Piranha, Orca, and even Grizzly for proof on that. But occasionally, it can be done smart in a way that provides the audience with real fear, intense action, and well-rounded characters. Such is the case with Crawl, with swaps out a giant shark with a bloodthirsty swarm of alligators. No gimmicks, no cheese, just a father and a daughter trapped in a flooded house with a dozen hungry gators.
Kaya Scodelario stars as Haley, an expert swimmer who goes to check on her estranged father during a category five hurricane. When she gets there, she finds her dad (Pepper) unconscious in the basement with claw marks on his arm. A primordial fight for survival begins as Haley and her father have limited time to escape the basement before they drown from the flood or are eaten by gators. There's enough terror and tension to fill an entire movie here. I often found myself screaming at the screen, which is a surefire mark of a great flick.
While the CGI was a little obvious at times with the gators, Crawl stands apart from other creature features as a fun, intense thrill ride that's easily worth repeated viewings. On top of that, you've also got a heartwarming bonding adventure between a father and his daughter. The chemistry between Scodelario and Pepper is what makes this film so engaging. The gators and the carnage is just gravy.