Whether it’s during the Olympics, a world championship or just a small local competition, a professional swimmer is always under pressure. You just get one shot to show what you’ve got.
The few minutes on the clock and the fierce competition is what keeps you away from a gold medal. But what happens if you don’t have to battle against determined swimmers but bloodthirsty alligators instead?
Then you get “Crawl”, the latest feature from Alexandre Aja (“The 9th Life Of Louis Drax”, “Horns”). A film that he turned into an exciting, thrilling and perfect popcorn movie.
Since she was little, Haley (Kaya Scodelario) has been participating in professional swimming competitions under the watchful eye of her father/coach Dave (Barry Pepper). However, her next fight was something she could have never prepared herself for.
Her town is being destroyed by a category 5 hurricane and after receiving a call from her worried sister, Hayley’s going to check on their elderly dad in their house.
Once arrived, she’s facing her worst nightmare. The house is barely holding up against the storm, her father is left to die in the basement that’s filling up rapidly with water and some… alligators.
They entered the house via the drain-pipe and are now out for blood, flesh and every human in sight. The stakes were never this high for Haley and her dad.
Just like during her swimming races, they have to rely on each other and push each other to transcend themselves. While more water seems to come in from every corner of the basement, more alligators make their way into the house.
The clock is ticking for Haley and her dad. Will they be able to make it to the finish and escape or will they drown and die?
A disaster movie about trying to survive a natural disaster or trying to escape from wild animals is nothing new. “Crawl” certainly won’t win the prize for the most original story but that doesn’t mean that it’s a bad or lousy film.
The elements that will make you watch this film from start to finish are without a doubt the sound effects and musical score. The rumbling thunder welcomes you right from the beginning and creates the dark, mysterious and dangerous atmosphere instantly.
It’s that sound of the thunder, the creaking wood, pouring rain and the squeaking violins that make from this movie such a catching one. Of course, the sounds of breaking bones and high pitching screams contribute perfectly to the threatening vibe.
“Crawl” is all about two people trying to escape from dangerous animals and to survive multiple disasters. Because of that, the emotions of fear, desperation, pain but also determination and hope need to be put on screen with a lot of confidence and persuasion.
Both Scodelario (“Extremely Wicked, Shockingly Evil and Vile”, “Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales“) and Pepper (“Bitter Harvest”, “Monster Trucks”) succeed in that.
Scodelario as the distressed, caring and worried daughter as well as the determined, fierce and strong woman. As her film dad, we see Pepper as the resolute, loving, supportive but also broken father. The emotions are running extremely high for both of them.
In an “it’s the end of the world” disaster film, most of the time the cinematography and special effects are clearly over the top. We’re fully aware that for “Crawl” they (probably) didn’t use living alligators, that the rumbling thunders are staged and that the SFX team has worked long hours while making this film.
However, because the emotions in this film are running as high as the water, the bombastic and unreal visuals don’t bother that much.
Because of the category 5 tornado, the heavy rain, and the uncontrollable wind, we’re wondering about what it must be like to watch this film in 4DX…
Ok, don’t expect a film that will change the movie industry forever or one that will be the front runner for the Oscars.
But hey, nothing wrong with a top-notch popcorn movie like this, right? “Crawl” is filled with big and bold special effects, emotional performances, an outstanding score, and…alligators.