Raimi Productions/Fire Axe Pictures/Paramount Pictures
Directed by Alexandre Aja
Produced by Craig J. Flores/Sam Raimi/Alexandre Aja
Written by Michael Rasmussen/Shawn Rasmussen
Music by Max Aruj/Steffan Thum
Cinematography by Maxime Alexandre
Edited By Eliot Greenberg
I have to admit with no shame at all that I do so love that I no longer have to put on my clothes and drive or take the subway to the theater to see a B-Movie. Thanks to Netflix, Amazon Prime and Hulu I can stay at home all day long and watch all the B-Movies I want and never have to go through the cost, time and effort of getting to a movie theater. That’s not to say I don’t miss it. Most of you reading this have never had the experience of seeing a B-Movie in a Grindhouse theater and that is truly a shame. Everybody should have that experience at least once.
And make no mistake: CRAWL is a B-Movie that delights in embracing the fact that it’s a B-Movie. It’s the kind of movie where an hour in, two of the main characters are up to their necks in freezing water, surrounded by hungry alligators but yet take the time to resolve their emotional differences. It helps if you’re familiar with this style of movie so that you can Just Go With It and not spend your time trying to make sense out of a lot of what happens, such as one of the characters surviving three alligator attacks with all their limbs intact. But you’re not supposed to think or focus on stuff like that. Follow the example of my wife Patricia. She spent the running time of the movie bouncing up and down in her recliner hollering, hooting, shouting at the characters on screen and throwing handfuls of Pringles at the TV when they didn’t listen to the sensible advice she was giving them to avoid dismemberment and/or death. It’s that kind of movie, folks.
Haley Keller (Kaya Scodelario) has aspirations of being a professional swimmer. Her father Dave (Barry Pepper) was her coach until they had a falling out during the divorce of her parents. Haley is still pursing her dream but without her father pushing her, the spark just isn’t there. But due to a Category 5 hurricane heading for Florida, Haley has to put aside her feelings to go check on her dad who has gone to their old family home to secure it against the coming hurricane.
Haley finds Dave unconscious in the basement. She also finds that there are alligators in there with him as well. Hungry, huge, vicious alligators. Haley and Dave are trapped in a crawl space of the basement blocked off by pipes that the alligators can’t get past. But the basement is rapidly filling up with water and Dave tells Haley that if they don’t find a way out, the levees will break and as a result, the entire neighborhood will be flooded and at that point the alligators won’t matter. So now it’s a race against time as father and daughter attempt to figure out a way to get out of the flooded basement past the alligators. And they have one sure ace to play: Haley’s skill and expertise at swimming.
Look, I’m not gonna tell you that CRAWL isn’t fun. It zips along at 87 minutes that is devoted to nothing but PLOT. There is only enough characterization to support what is happening on the screen at that moment but that’s enough. I really enjoyed seeing Barry Pepper in this movie as he can convince me of anything when he’s on screen and he gives a level of gravitas to the action that made me sit up and pay attention. And I appreciate that this wasn’t an easy shoot for the actors. Most of the time they’re obviously up to their necks in water or mud. And the final third of the movie takes place in the family house which is flooded with water and as a result is infested with alligators which means that Haley and David have get really mean and inventive to survive. The movie earns it’s respect just on the technical level in that third act with the flooded house.
So should you see CRAWL? If you don’t trust me, trust Patricia. She loved it. And I trust Patricia. So there.