Crawl

Them gators look fake, but the thrills and stars are real

The best movie to rip off “Jaws” is “Deep Blue Sea” from 20 years ago. It was no shark masterpiece at that exact level, but there was still a lot of thrills and fun going on with the characters, and the sharks, if not the generic CGI effects. Looking back at “Jaws” and “Deep Blue Sea,” I’m always cautious about going into the water. Then why do we watch these shark movies? Because it’s part of instincts: to watch films with pure nonstop thrills.

“What does this have to do with my “Crawl” review?,” you’re asking.

It takes advantage of a big hurricane, and leaves two characters struggling to get out of a sinking building, while sea critters stalk them. The two characters I’m referring to are a would-be swimming champ named Haley (Kaya Scodelario) and her father Dave (Barry Pepper), both of whom are trapped in a Florida house, where alligators invite themselves in. Obviously, we needed a break from sharks, and I have zero interest in seeing “47 Meters Down: Uncaged” for the record.

Them gators look fake-cartoon characters as a matter of fact. You wonder why they couldn’t use real gators or at least professional special effects like the tiger in the lifeboat in “Life of Pi.” They’re the least interesting element of “Crawl,” and they made me want to detach myself from the movie.

But what makes “Crawl” watchable are the actors and risks they’re placed in. Even the dramatic side expresses their senses. Haley has been stressing out during her swim meets, and her parents are divorced. But that doesn’t stop her from driving into the most hazardous area in order to find her father.

Scodelario of “Maze Runner” fame has proven herself to be a natural actress-smart and persistent-and she’s written with emotions and challenges by the Rasmussen brothers (Michael and Shawn). And Pepper delivers some fine supporting work as her father-regretful but bold-and he’s able to adapt to the dangerous situations, along with Scoldelario.

You actually end ups rooting for these characters are they make their way through basement goo, eggs, a flooded town, and another house they find themselves in. Even I was hoping their pet dog would make it out alive too.

The water sequences and sets make the movie look provocative. I’m always thrilled by these type of movies, because I’m scarred of the water at night or in storms. They’re unpredictable, and director Alejandre Aja (“The Hills Have Eyes”) and producer Sam Raimi both make sure of that by adding alligators in the mix. The flooding, floating junk, underwater plants, and drains all keep things looking creepy.

Again, the alligators have some of the worst CGI I’ve seen in recent memory, but the humans, sets, and dangers make me want to recommend “Crawl.” This is a monster movie about people.

⭐️⭐️⭐️

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