Crawl – Movie Review – An intense creature feature.

Crawl follows Hayley (Kaya Scodelario) who whilst attempting to save her father (Barry Pepper) from a category 5 hurricane, finds herself trapped in a flooded house and must fight for her life against a group of Alligators.

Now I love a good creature feature. When done right they can be an extremely entertaining experience, and I’m happy to report that Crawl is a solid one. The opening fifteen minutes smartly establishes some key elements of the lead character, that come closer to the spotlight during the middle of the film. Hayley has been a competitive swimmer from a young age, and it’s through that hobby where her relationship with her father had flourished the most. In her adult years that relationship has broken down and it’s the knowledge of this, which made me invested in her interactions with her father. The performances here are strong from both Kaya and Barry. It’s filled with subtle emotions such as an undeniable sense of familial love, but also regret. Many films of this nature feature characters that are rather hollow and two dimensional, but this doesn’t follow that pattern.

Alexandre Aja has managed to craft a tight thriller (particularly in the first two acts) that feels claustrophobic. Once the thrills kick into gear, it maintains a high intensity for the majority of it’s run time. The fierce and aggressive nature of the Alligators is played to the films advantage, and they certainly felt like a serious threat to the characters. When the kills eventually come along they are brutal and unforgiving which amps up the tension even more. Visually speaking, they looked pretty realistic. There was a couple times where the visual effects didn’t look convincing, but it was nothing to completely take me out of the experience. The hurricane effects were impressive also.

What hurts this film is the sense of repetition as it enters the third act. There’s one character who experiences a number of injuries that would likely kill somebody, but they keep on surviving each near death experience. That eventually started to break the realism for me. No matter what happened to them, I began to realise they’d make it through regardless which also weakened the suspense. Due to this my interest began to wane.

Crawl is an entertaining thriller which is at it’s best when it feels claustrophobic and intense. Unfortunately once it reaches the third act, the intensity starts to dissipate, which leads to a climax that isn’t as engaging as the rest of it.

★ ★ ★

(3 Stars out of 5)

– T. Graham.

Crawl – Starring Kaya Scodelario and Barry Pepper.

Directed by Alexandre Aja.

Now showing in cinemas.

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