When you have an almost-one-year-old, it becomes increasingly difficult to find time to go to the movies. I’ve had to be very selective this year.
When I heard there was a new “killer gators in a hurricane” flick, I knew I had to run to see Crawl (not to be mistaken for the dramatic film adaptation of my son’s latest milestone achieved).
Imagine someone had taken the Sharknado concept dead seriously, and replaced the sharks with gators and the tornado with a hurricane. As if I needed another reminder to never move to Florida…
Part of the fun (and success) of Crawl is the film’s earnestly suspenseful and humane tone. There’s a young swim champ (Kaya Scodelario, looking a like a young Naomi Watts, and who does this funny thing with her jaw when she’s nervous and breathing hard that’s a little bit like a gator chomp) trying to reconnect with her estranged dad and former coach (Barry Pepper), who has a cute dog named Sugar. When a hurricane hits, they end up stranded in their former family home (a lovely Florida craftsman that could use some updating and has one hell of a basement crawlspace) which becomes flooded and inundated with hungry gators. The newly reunited family make for a trio to root for, and they all (canine included) act the crap out of their parts allowing you to suspend your disbelieve in the ridiculous premise they find themselves in.
But of course, the film also delivers the juicy genre goods. If you want to see people getting torn apart by ravenous gators, director Alexandre Aja gives you exactly what you want here.
At 87 minutes, the film wastes no time with subplots or anything other than the family drama and gator action. I would describe it as lean and mean…except it’s more like lean…and kind. Which isn’t to say it’s not also a bloody good time.