WATERTOWN, N.Y. (WWNY) -
Just when you thought it was safe to move to Florida.
I used to love disaster and “animal amok” films– I am not sure who originally coined that phrase-when I was a kid. So, although I knew Crawl, (directed by Alexandre Aja,) the alligator people-eating film, would be B movie Schlock I went anyway.
As a massive hurricane is about to strike South Florida, Haley (Kaya Scodelario) a twenty-something professional swimmer sets out to find her estranged father Dave (Barry Pepper) when he won’t answer her phone calls or texts. When she doesn’t find him at his condo, she goes to their old family home, where she discovers his contractor’s truck in the driveway, but still cannot reach him. Meanwhile the storm becomes increasingly dangerous.
What follows is an old fashioned adventure story, with horror elements and modern CG images. At the center, however is a father-daughter relationship which is actually well written and credible. This combined with Scodelario’s tough, charismatic, athletic performance as an intelligent badass female heroine; lift this above standard monster movie fare. Whether you will agree, is not my call, you may find the whole thing a hokey joke. I get that. But I found this film to be much better than I expected.
When the full force of the hurricane causes flooding, BIG ASS alligators, who are only apex predators when in water, can suddenly swim freely in and out of buildings, especially basements. This propels Dave and Haley into a heap of trouble and she puts her own life in jeopardy to save her father. The two of them together are a formidable duo against the giant reptiles that seem to have an insatiable appetite.
Although they do not come out of it unscathed, (far from it) their bond is solidified. Their relationship is healed and whole, even if they are not.
For the record, this film has a terrific last shot.
At a brief hour and twenty-seven minutes, Crawl moves by like lightening and can be fun, if you let it. Yes it is gory and scary sometimes, but how scared you become may depend on who you are. I found it entertaining, but I was not nearly as scared as I thought I was going to be. Perhaps, because I know I will never live in Florida, ever---and the reality of Alligators can still be something I see on the internet in a headline that begins….”A Florida Man…..”