Let’s play in the water.

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Crawl is a straightforward creature feature about Haley (Kaya Scodelario), a young swimmer who must brave on oncoming hurricane to search for her father Dave (Barry Pepper) after he doesn’t answer his phone. Haley finds a wounded Dave in the crawlspace and discovers there is a giant alligator with them. Trapped behind pipes, the two must figure a way out before the rising water drowns them.

The best part of this movie is that it isn’t Sharknado, or anything like that pile of garbage. Instead, we have a grounded, and I dare say realistic look at a horrific scenario. As the flood waters rise, the gators are able to get into people’s homes via the large drainage pipes.

Director Alexandre Aja brings the gore quite nicely. We are treated to some vicious attacks, and the practical blood effects are excellent. The CGI of the gators is simply excellent—they look real. Overall, the film is a tense bit of fun.

One thing that I liked about this one is we have some smart characters. Dave and Haley aren’t idiots who walk blindly into dangerous situations. Instead, we have people who problem solve as best they can in impossible odds, and knowing they are being logical makes the film more tense.

We do have some cringey dialogue at moments, and some odd/forced events. Seriously, Haley is going to happen to know the guy at the roadblock in a hurricane? Further, we have a strained relationship between Haley and Dave that doesn’t seem needed for the plot. There was no real need for the film to focus on how the two of them grew apart as Haley got older. I’m not sure why horror films try to add this specific wrinkle into so many films.

While I am certain one could analyze the environmental angle of the film, most will want to go for the adrenaline rush. Crawl can deliver on both fronts, which is a bit of an oddity with 2019 films it seems.

Why this film isn’t doing better at the box office is a mystery to me. This is something different, fun, and exciting. While it isn’t the most thoughtful film of the year, it is certainly the most fun I’ve had the theater in a while. Check it out.

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