Crawl is a movie that came out amidst the many other blockbusters released in 2019. Many people are probably saying, “What’s Crawl?”
It is an alligator movie produced by Sam Raimi that everyone thought would be stupid and another throwaway monster movie. This film, in my humble opinion, is brilliant and should be the blueprint of how to make these types of movies.
It’s a major step up from the current survival trope and offers effective jump scares that actually flow into the storytelling and enhance the viewer’s experience. For too many people, Crawl on paper is a basic, dull, and typical monster movie featuring alligators. In just under 90 minutes, Crawl delivers a hell of a ride and a refreshing experience to this genre of movies.
The Main Character
Unlike every other monster movie where the lead actor is poorly written, dull, or just over the top, the lead character in Crawl, Haley, is tailor-made for this movie.
Kaya Scodelario portrays a Division I swimmer for The University Of Florida, and pulls off a brilliant performance in the main role. The father (played by Barry Pepper)-daughter dynamic is strong and adds some emotion to the film as well.
It goes well perfectly with the plot, situation, and the overall story. If she was a basketball player or something random like a tailor, the movie wouldn’t work the same.
Throughout the movie, she uses her swimming skills to save her life, which carries the main theme. It’s almost as if she was made to be in this situation, which works well for this movie. I wish more creature movies would take steps in this direction.
Tying your main character development or hobby with the plot works narratively and makes you care even more for the character.
At the start of the movie, there is no indication of this being an alligator monster movie. The first part feels mysterious and could throw many people off (in a good way). If you didn’t see a single trailer about this movie, you would completely have no idea what it is about from the beginning.
Rather than starting the movie with someone being eaten by an alligator, the movie steadily takes its time with slick pacing. Not showing any alligators in the opening of the movie works so well because it doesn’t ruin the surprise.
The first 20 minutes of the movie is strictly about Haley checking to see if her dad is still alive at their house following a CAT-5 hurricane. Then bam at the 21-minute mark, the first appearance of an alligator comes and offers an incredible jump scare.
This jump scare is so effective because it’s unexpected and cleverly placed. I watch a load of horror movies and rarely jump but this one legitimately got me. Also, the CGI for the alligators are impressively realistic. It feels like they used real alligators the effects are astounding and offer for a better viewing experience.
Overall Thoughts and Setting
Crawl is pretty much what you would expect a film like this to be, but at the same time, it isn’t bad by any means. The film is fully aware, plays to its premise, and fully goes for it from the opening to the credits.
What starts as a fairly routine creature horror flick, Crawl eventually forms into a film that’s far more entertaining and suspenseful than it has any right to be.
The alligators aren’t the only antagonist in Crawl. At its core, Mother Nature is the main antagonist and makes the movie unpredictable. The film is wise and smart enough to end at the 87-minute mark, keeping things straight to the point rather than drawn out. With a short run time, Crawl never feels overloaded, fast-paced, or discombobulated.
Crawl is merely exactly what it promised to be. It’s an intense, over-the-top creature feature that’s fast, action-packed, and exciting. And that’s mainly because of the setting of the film. The movie mostly takes place in a closed-quarters basement, which adds another depth of thrill to the movie.
As a viewer, you feel claustrophobic watching these characters fight for their lives in this tiny basement. There are many reasons why Crawl delivers one of the best creature movies in recent memory. The main component that makes this movie intelligent is the set design and just how well it fits with the overall movie.