Friday, July 10, 2020

Crawl (2019)

Streaming Services: Amazon Prime Video, Hulu
Movie Name/Year: Crawl (2019)
Genre: Drama, Horror, Thriller
Length: 87 minutes
Rating: R
Production/Distribution: Paramount Pictures, Raimi Productions, Central Partnership, CinemArt, Constantin-Film, NOS Audiovisuais, Odeon, Towa Pictures, United International Pictures (UIP), Universal Pictures International (UPI), Paramount Home Entertainment, Paramount Home Media Distribution
Director: Alexandre Aja
Writer: Michael Rasmussen, Shawn Rasmussen
Actors: Kaya Scodelario, Barry Pepper, Morfydd Clark, Ross Anderson, Jose Palma, George Somner, Anson Boon, Ami Metcalf, Tina Pribicevic, Srna Vasiljevic

Blurb from IMDb: A young woman, while attempting to save her father during a category 5 hurricane, finds herself trapped in a flooding house and must fight for her life against alligators.

Selina’s Point of View:
The ambiance in my house was perfect for this film. I had a loud thunderstorm echoing outside, I caught a spider on my foot at the same time as the main character had to deal with a bunch of them. The universe was trying to make it easy for me to enjoy Crawl. It shouldn’t have needed that much help, either, because I love creature features.

I felt like this story was an easy idea. Not in a bad way, either. It hit some marks for believability. It’s easy to combine things like hurricanes and alligators in a setting like Florida. There’s no moment where you’re drawn out of the film by the thought that something doesn’t belong. Sometimes it really does pay to keep it simple.

Honestly, the gators themselves were also really well done. They looked right, if a little bigger than I would expect. Of course, it’s a horror/thriller. They needed to be menacing. Making them bigger helped.

I found no fault in the visuals. Alexandre Aja (Horns, The Hills Have Eyes, Piranha 3D) is a great director; I’ve liked the majority of his stuff. He’s not a favorite of mine, but I would call his name on a project a selling point. Crawl feels right for one of his flicks.

The majority of the problems I had fell to the script. There were some really hokey lines. It stuck as close to a recipe as possible – to the point where I could predict what was going to be said next. There were a couple of moments that caught me off guard, but for the most part it felt like a B-movie script that was adopted by A-movie creators and actors.

I didn’t hate it. It’s a decent film to throw on when you’re looking for some creature feature action, but it’s not a movie that’ll cross my mind when people ask for recommendations.

Cat’s Point of View:
Let me tell you, the premise of this movie is the stuff of nightmares.

I can’t tell you how grateful I am that I’ve spent my life in the more land-locked northern portion of Louisiana. Hurricanes tend to lose a lot of steam by the time they get to my neck of the woods. We still have plenty of wetland areas, however, and gators. We also see the occasional flood. It’s not just rivers and lakes, though. Our water table is so high that sometimes all it takes is just some good soaking rain.

All the same, when the words ‘hurricane’ and ‘category 5’ are mentioned together, I can’t help but twitch. I think it’s something that is likely ingrained into most residents here – especially those that were around for 2005’s Katrina.

We’re not really talking about Louisiana for this particular movie, though. We’re talking about Florida. The two states have a lot in common, however. Here, even in Northwestern Louisiana, we have the occasional gators trying to cross roads and causing hazards. Florida is the state that launched memes of gators climbing fences and chilling in a residential pool on top of an inflatable alligator. Both states share another issue aside from modern dinosaurs. Because the aforementioned water table is so high – we don’t generally have basements. We have crawlspaces under our houses if you have a pier and beam foundation instead of a slab.

In the case of this movie, the house here has tall piers so there’s a good amount of space underneath for the ductwork and plumbing – why not gators? If you have openings present, wildlife is going to find its way in just because it can.

Pardon my rambling. I had a bit of a kneejerk reaction when I noticed that so many were considering the film setting a basement. The title of Crawl is symbolic for more than just the reptilian adversaries, but also where the majority of the film takes place.

This movie was high on my July 2019 Top 20 list for a reason. I’m happy to say that it lived up to expectations for me. I didn’t sleep very well after watching this the first time, either. Not only was the premise of the movie plausible, but it was also generally based on something that actually happened.

I have a real soft spot for creature features. This one really takes the cake. The gators were rendered so well that I honestly could swear that they weren’t CGI. The production team did a bang-up job there on the behaviors of these toothsome terrors. I believed every minute of the animal encounters. I’ve seen the feeding-time shows at local alligator parks, and have seen first-hand these behaviors.

I appreciated some of the little ironies and references scattered here and there throughout the film. I’m not going to spoil them for you, so see if you can find some of them as you go.

All told, this was a really solid edge-of-your-seat thriller. For this sort of movie, there was even a surprising amount of character development and emotional interaction between the leads. Kaya Scodelario (Clash of the Titans, Skins, Tiger House) and Barry Pepper (Snitch, Monster Trucks, Bitter Harvest) were well-matched as a father-daughter pairing. I do wonder how much swim training Scodelario had for the role, or if it’s something she’s had in her life outside acting. Either way, I completely bought in, whether she had a swim double or it was her own skill shown on screen.

I would recommend Crawl in a heartbeat.

Rotten Tomatoes Critic Score – 83%
Rotten Tomatoes Audience Score – 75%
Metascore – 60/100
Metacritic User Score – 6.1/10
IMDB Score – 6.2/10
CinemaScore – B

Trust the Dice: Selina’s Rating3/5
Trust the Dice: Cat’s Rating4/5

Movie Trailer:

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