It’s the summer, so as we sit between big releases, we get a few smaller movies. Crawl, a new horror movie from French director Alexandre Aja, has a simple premise. It also has yet another reason to maybe not move to Florida.
But this movie was apparently shot in Serbia, so make of that what you will.
Collegiate competitive swimmer Haley Keller (Kaya Scoderlario) gets a call from her sister in Boston. Haley lives in Florida, and there’s a Class Five hurricane coming. Can she check in on their recently divorced dad (Barry Pepper)? He’s not answering his phone. Haley and her dad have some issues, but she reluctantly agrees to check on him. She finds the family dog, but her dad is missing. Some more searching finally finds her dad wounded in the basement. Why is he down there? The storm is coming in, and the basement is flooding.
It turns out there are some large alligators in the basement too. Haley’s dad had holed himself up a section where the gators couldn’t get at him.
It’s a basic premise: Haley and her dad need to somehow out-think some rather clever reptiles before they drown in the basement. The alligators are smart, but still with a more animalistic intelligence. Haley and her father know a few things about alligators. They just need to stay as far away from the creatures’ mouths as they can. And if you do think Haley and her dad have too much plot armor, there’s always some hapless cops and nameless looters to provide some fodder for the gators.
In a way, this movie reminds me of last year’s Searching. Searching had a basic premise that it stuck to to tell a good, fun story. Crawl, despite being a different genre, is much the same. It’s a just a well-crafted horror/thriller. The characters may not be the most memorable, but the jump scares work, the action set-pieces are good, and the gators look rather impressive. This was just a fun, compact (less than 90 minutes) popcorn flick. 8.5 out of 10 helpful shovels.