Crawl – An Insomniac Review (spoiler free)

Crawl is a horror film that I saw on a whim after hearing fairly good reviews and a certified Rotten Tomatoes score of 83%. I usually don’t let Rotten Tomatoes scores affect my judgement going in because let’s face it, they have been wrong before. Needless to say, I figured I owed both you all and myself a post not to mention a treat in the midst of my hectic schedule.

I enjoyed this flick. It was a short, good old fashioned, horror film about giant alligators with a run time of about 90 minutes. It had it’s predictable moments but still allowed me to be on the edge of my seat.

The movie starts off with our main protagonist/final girl, Haley who is a young, college-level swimmer. After a competition she gets a call from her older sister that a massive, category 5 hurricane is approaching and that their father hasn’t been heard from. Ignoring evacuation orders while facing rising flood level waters, Haley goes on the search for her father at her childhood home. After finding him gravely injured in the crawl space, she tries to rescue him but her efforts are halted by giant, hungry alligators.

So was Crawl worth it or should it be gator food? Continue reading below. Oh and if you’re wondering, this is spoiler free review.

What I enjoyed about this film was it’s set up. The first half reminded me of Buried, where the majority of the set is relatively small and avoids the clichΓ© horror movie tropes that briefly focus set on a bunch of useless characters who in turn become kill-bait. This movie mostly follows our protagonist throughout her journey. I won’t lie, it will have you biting your nails wondering what will happen next, hell I spent most of it worrying about damn family dog.

Director, Alexander Aja makes good use of the crawlspace where our main characters are trapped. You get attached to the characters even though you don’t know much about their background, save the fact that Haley is good swimmer (which is obviously foreshadowed but still comes in handy). We see that she has had a big fallout with her father and that they have an estranged relationship. Regardless of them not getting along, she still makes every attempt in her power to look for him even despite warnings from her sister (who lives in Boston) and the local law. But even without a backstory which the movie drag or waste much time on, the connection with them is gained as the story unfolds through a few flashbacks. Usually, that can make or break a film but it works well here. Besides sometimes monologuing backstories and expositions can make a film boring.

Crawl has its flaws but boring is not one of them!

There are plenty of jump scares but not too many, enough that it reminds you it’s horror film. But what makes it work is the tension brought on by the alligators who despite their slow crawl on those stumpy limbs and their other shortcomings are pretty much frightening. That goes without saying. Now I am a city girl but I’ve seen dozens of videos and read countless stories about gators in Florida just making themselves home in folks’ living rooms, bathrooms, basements and yards. That alone makes me never want to retire to Florida or Louisiana or any other marshy swamp land. Throw in their mutant mosquitos, voter ballot issues, the heat, humidity and the hurricanes… yeah, I am good! ✌🏽

This movie didn’t convince me to say screw the southern tip of the east coast… it solidified it! Screw that! Even if it wasn’t filmed in Florida, any visit I make will be just that… a visit.

That brings me to the hurricane. You see it build up from rain and wind to Noah-like flooding before the movie’s climax. As Haley searches for her father, I couldn’t stop but wonder if he even bothered to watch the news. But the movie had to “movie along” and those gators had to have purpose. And this is no spoiler as their eminent existence is foreshadowed from the opening title card. Make no mistake, the threat is shoved in your face long before we see even one alligator on screen. I am sure that this was done on purpose but had it been any more obvious , I would have walked out.

The movie doesn’t drag out or over utilize comedic relief or romance to fill gaps of time. It gets right to the good stuff. So needless to say there are little to no bathroom breaks in the relatively short film. So if you ordered the large soda, take sips and you should still be able to enjoy the film without interruption.

The effects are good from the storm to the alligators themselves. The gore is decent enough to make you squirm a little. It’s not a splatter fest so don’t expect buckets of blood onscreen…well maybe in the water. The tension is enough to make you worry for the main characters as well as their dog, Sugar who reminds me of an all slightly bigger Benji from the 80’s flicks.

From one moment to the next, the alligators don’t seem let up. Especially when they go from crawling to swimming. It’s almost like they glide in the water. Had they not been so terrifying, I’d say it’s cool to watch them.

You never know if both of our main characters will make it to the end because at every turn, there is something happening. You just have to watch the until ending because these poor characters can never win for losing.

My only gripe is the fact is that they made mating growls all throughout the movie. The other was the fact that Paramount’s shitty advertising for this film and their lack of early screening. It’s like they don’t want to be attached to solid horror flicks! **COUGH** Friday the 13th **COUGH** Had it not been for an Instagram ad, I would have waited for the Blu-ray. One issue I do have with the set however is the small windows all throughout the crawlspace… I don’t understand why a house in this area would have them outside of plot and climax. It makes no sense especially in an area prone to flooding.

All in all, Crawl is a decent horror flick that makes good use of everything it has to offer in a short amount of time. Again that’s definitely good if you have a shitty bladder like mine and a cup full of juice!

My Vote: It’s pretty awesome

Til Later Kiddies,

Shalom

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