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Crawl Movie Review

Written by Ryan Holloway

Released by Paramount Pictures UK


Directed by Alexandre Aja
Written by Michael Rasmussen and Shawn Rasmussen
2019, 87 minutes, Rated 15 (UK)
Released on Blu-ray™, DVD and VOD on 16th December 2019

Kaya Scodelario as Haley
Barry Pepper as Dave
Morfydd Clark as Beth
Ross Anderson as Wayne


Sam Raimi (The Evil Dead) produces a survival film directed by Alexandre Aja (The Hills Have Eyes) starring Kaya Scodelario (The Maze Runner) and some big ass alligators, in what is likely to be the best survival horror of the year.

Crawl certainly doesn’t need much more of an introduction, but this is not to say that there aren’t surprises, only that with such a set up you’re pretty much guaranteed a slick and fun ride in a film that puts nature front and centre as the ‘villain’ and as a plot device that is both plausible and frightening.

Haley (Scodelario) gets a worried phone call from her sister Beth (Clark) about their divorced Dad, Dave (Pepper), who hasn’t been returning her calls. With a Category 5 Hurricane on the way, Haley braves Mother Nature and makes the two-hour drive to their family home to check on him. When she arrives, greeted by the family dog, the storm is nearing its full force and her Dad is nowhere to be found, that is, until she braves it down into the basement where she finds him unconscious and with a horrific injury. When we see the cause of the injury, a huge, hungry alligator, and realise that, not only are Haley and her Dad trapped, but also the basement is slowly flooding, the next hour or so is a relentless survivalist thriller that conjures up some imaginative set pieces, incredible production values and some nightmarish imagery.

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Director Alexandre Aja is no stranger to grungy, mucky horror, as proven by 2006’s The Hills Have Eyes. He is also no stranger when it comes to delivering what mainstream audiences expect from genre films with Piranha 3D. What he has achieved with Crawl is the perfect blend of those, sometimes clashing sensibilities. The film looks stunning and is very slick, but he has also managed to make it feel like a low-budget piece with all the excitement and verve of a director working on his first movie and wanting to throw everything at it. He wears his film-fan heart on his sleeve as Crawl plays homage to classics such as Jaws and Jurassic Park. Under the watchful eye of the now legendary Sam Raimi, the film moves at an incredible pace and is relentless.

Much like Blake Lively’s 2016 film The Shallows, Crawl needs a strong central performance to make it believable, and make no mistake, this is a fantastic star-turn for Scodelario who acts her socks off… or in this case, flip-flops.

The British actress, who is perhaps still best known for the teen drama Skins, has been slowly growing in stature with films such as Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales and The Maze Runner saga. Crawl perfectly showcases her talents and actually raises the film to another level to make it one that is going to be well worth multiple views. We look forward to seeing much more from our latest Scream Queen recruit and one of the UK’s finest exports.

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The alligators themselves are of course 100% digital but look incredible. Aja has given them, deliberate or not, the feel and characteristics of Spielberg’s raptors, especially in the film’s brutal moments, of which there are many.

If you suffer from anxiety then you’ll want to take some pretty deep breaths during this film. Watching Haley and her Dad having to make difficult life-threatening decisions in order to escape and survive get you sinking in your seat and biting on your fist. It’s a strange feeling that the moments in the film where body parts are flying around actually act as a rather pleasant respite.

crawl 05 crawl 06

Crawl is an extraordinarily fun ride that manages to fit so many scenes of tension into 87 minutes, and it doesn’t get as mushy as some of its peers so it feels satisfying.

Make sure you see this one on the big screen and maybe cut your fingernails or they’ll dig so deep into your chair that the ushers will be struggling to get you out of the cinema long after the lights come back up.

As a side note, you’ll have to watch for yourself to see if the family dog survives, no spoilers here!


Movie: 4 Star Rating Cover
Buy Amazon Uk

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About The Author
Ryan Holloway
Staff Reviewer
As far back as he can remember Ryan has always had an obsession with films, and horror in particular. 'A Nightmare on Elm Street' and ‘Alien’ were the first films that really stuck in the psyche and rather than scarring his tiny mind and running up a huge therapy bill, those films created a fascination with the dark side of life and art. Brought up by Freddy, Jason and Michael Myers (not literally), horror will always fascinate him no matter how absurd, dark, twisted, barmy or just plain wrong. Horror DNA gives him the opportunity, and excuse, to legitimise his macabre tastes and watch whatever strangeness comes his way.
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