Home » Crawl review – Tense, Gator-filled Mishmash

Crawl review – Tense, Gator-filled Mishmash

by Ben Rolph

Alexandre Aja has teamed up with Sam Raimi for this tense, gator-filled thriller. Some-what ludicrous, this film centres around a daughter and father who find themselves stuck in a hurricane unlike no other, everything is flooded and CGI gators are everywhere, I’m talking everywhere in capitals.

The Maze Runner‘s Kaya Scodelario stars alongside Saving Private Ryan‘s Barry Pepper. The gators practically invade and munch anything that moves, it’s a simple plot that is well-executed and has its charms.


When a monstrous hurricane hits a Florida town, Haley (Kaya Scodelario) ignores the evacuation orders to search for her missing father, Dave (Barry Pepper). After finding him partially-torn by alligators, the two of them become trapped by the rapidly encroaching flood and imminent danger. With the storm rising, they discover an even greater threat than the rising water level – a relentless attack from a pack of alligators. They must maneuver their way to safety through water, holes and hatches to escape the clutches of the extremely hungry gators.

Crawl is effective, yet it wears a little thin – with the ongoing repetition of danger upon danger and the heart-to-heart dialogue that isn’t well written. There is a lack of any form of care or heart seen in the dialogue and connection between father and daughter. However, the film succeeds on filmmaking standpoints and in the way it crafts and builds suspense in this some-what ridiculous, but incredibly tense situation.


It’s bloody and brutal in all the right ways. With Aja’s suspense building, the payoff to the many situations is sure quite brilliant, in terms of execution. However, the gators (when not in water) look a little shabby, obviously, they didn’t use real alligators.

As with her performance in The Maze Runner, Kaya Scodelario fails to deliver effective dialogue and to feel much care for her connection to anyone. It feels scripted, not real. However, she does succeed in our care for her – mainly due to our fear of the gators. Pepper is some-what better, a little more convincing – but not perfect.


Continuing with the sense of ridiculous is the nature of the gator-attacks. I don’t know if I dare say boredom, but the repetition of the situations that they come so ridiculously close to dying is very uninspired. Essentially jumping from point a to b whilst dodging or fighting alligators is what the whole film is. Also, the fact of Haley’s main motivation and what leads to her being stuck in the basement with the gators is quite silly. That eye-rolling motivation kicks in the disconnect felt between you, the spectator and the supposedly-real connection the on-screen characters feel.

Crawl is incredibly tense and an effective exercise in genre, succeeding in direction and staging – whereas, failing on a big level with emotion and performances.

3/5 Stars ★★★☆☆

Ben Rolph

CRAWL is out in UK & US Cinemas NOW


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