Crawl is a real slog

2019-08-01 16:35

Paramount Pictures' latest film leaves Ilan Preskovsky feeling uninspired. 

Director: Alexandre Aja
Starring: Kaya Scodelario, Barry Pepper
2 out of 5 stars

When she finds out that her father is stuck in their home in the middle of a gigantic hurricane that threatens to wipe out a large portion of Florida, US pro swimmer Haley (Kaya Scodelario) risks her life by driving into the storm to try to get him to safety.

As if the cataclysmic weather isn’t enough to deal with, Haley and her father, Dave, soon find themselves in a cramped cellar surrounded by an ever-increasing number of man-eating alligators.

This is going to be a short one, folks, because, really, there isn’t much to say about a movie this simple and this beholden to genre tropes.

Crawl goes for pretty much the same thing but it just never comes together. Scodelario is a fine actress, but she never manages to command the screen. That’s the least she could have done here because there’s not much else going for Crawl.

There is an obvious attempt by director Alexandre Aja (Piranha 3D, Horns) to build tension by having each “gator encounter” be madder and more extreme than the one before but rather than ratcheting up the thrills, the overall effect here is one of tedium.

Long before the film’s halfway mark, you can’t help but want the damn thing to end. It’s less than 90 minutes long, but it feels much longer.

It’s strange: Aja seems like a solid choice here because he did make the gleefully ridiculous exploitation flick Piranha 3D, such a fun time at the cinema (quite unlike its ghastly sequel) and Crawl is roughly in the same ballpark, genre-wise.

The big problem here, then, probably has a lot to do with Michael and Shawn Rasmussen’s witless, uninventive script that is far too baggy to work as a tight suspense movie and far too po-faced to work as a fun piece of schlock.

It’s just kind of a slog. It’s a pretty joyless, bland affair with barely there characters and a total lack of awareness of its own silliness. It’s probably best to just give this one a miss.

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November 10 2019