“Crawl” is a look into the natural world: man’s scariest enemy out there.
The film, directed by Alexandre Aja, stars English actress Kaya Scodelario and Barry Pepper as a daughter-father duo in Southern Florida who become trapped in their first home during a Category five hurricane and soon after, become terrorized by a horde of seemingly sinister alligators. Scodelario’s character Haley receives a call from her sister Beth that she hasn’t heard from their father since the hurricane was announced as on a collision course with their hometown. Haley, against her sister’s pleas, goes into the storm to check on their father to find their childhood home in disarray. She inspects to no avail until the family dog Sugar begins barking down the crawl space. Haley investigates further and finds her father unconscious with horrifying wounds. She attempts to revive him, but he does not wake up. She attempts to pull him out of the crawl space but is interrupted by the entrance of a terrifying alligator with glowing red eyes and relentless intent. The pair soon realize that the alligator and the hurricane may be more arduous than they originally imagined.
The film works in a number of ways. Firstly, the film does something that not many modern horror movies do today. It’s a monster movie, but the monster is something that is entirely natural. It’s not supernatural in the slightest. The alligators are quite sinister and almost intelligent, but it’s evidently clear that there is no magical puppet master controlling these aquatic beasts to terrorize Haley and Dave. With that being said, the film plays to great effect the sinister ways of the alligators. They hunt in a pack, tricking others who happen to be near the house to their watery graves.
The relationship between the father and daughter pair of Dave and Haley is incredibly well done. They are not idealized in the slightest. They are flawed and the banter between them is not always positive. Haley is a swimmer at the University of Florida and feels constant pressure from her father to be better than she is, because growing up, he was also her swimming coach. The pressure her father put on her throughout the years shows in the two’s interactions as they attempt to navigate out of such a dangerous situation. Haley will attempt to do something that doesn’t have a 100-percent chance of success and Dave will lecture her. Through this process, over the course of the film, the two actually become much closer because they begin to understand how the other operates at a base level.
The movie shows the power of nature in all its glory. Not only are Haley and Dave trying to escape from hungry alligators, but they are racing against the clock as the hurricane brings in rain that is flooding the crawl space. They are fighting against the horrid wind that might blow them over into the water and into the jaws of a waiting alligator. The two can’t necessarily defeat the monster in this movie. They merely have to survive.
“Crawl” receives a A-minus rating.