Just add water: Crawl is the perfect summer monster movie


Summer typically brings us at least one water-related monster movie (think Jaws, Lake Placid, 47 Meters Down, The Meg), and this summer is no exception. Crawl, however is not set at a beach, lake or ocean; instead, our story this year is set underneath a house in Florida.

Now, I am a Florida girl, born and raised, and the previews and comments seemed to indicate that Crawl was set in a basement. To the best of my knowledge, there are no basements in Florida homes, so I was all huffy about that going in. Thankfully, the setting is more of a crawl space, so I was able to just relax and enjoy the show.

And, what a show it was! This was a really fun, bloody flick with plenty of scares to go around and I enjoyed the heck out of it.

Our heroine Haley is a competitive swimmer at the University of Florida (home of the Gators…nicely done). Though she and her father Dave are estranged, she agrees to go check on him after her sister calls and says she can’t reach him by phone. You see, there is a category 5 hurricane headed his way, and an evacuation order is in place.

At Dad’s condo, Haley finds Sugar the dog, and some liquor bottles, but he and his truck are nowhere to be found. The dog is important for two reasons: he would never have evacuated without his furry best friend and of course, we now have to worry about Sugar’s safety throughout the entire movie.

Crawl – Courtesy Paramount Pictures

The next stop is the old family home, which was supposed to have been sold after Mom and Dad’s bitter divorce, and Haley is relieved to see his truck outside. With Sugar’s help, she tracks Dave down in the crawl space beneath the house, which is already beginning to flood due to the hurricane.

Dave is unconscious, with some ugly wounds, and Haley finds out how he was injured soon enough. The crawl space is infested with huge gators, which they must evade for the remaining hour of the movie.

The gator scenes are harrowing, no doubt, but it’s Kaya Scodelario’s performance as Haley that really makes this movie work. Haley is fierce, and Kaya portrays her perfectly, right down to the fire in her eyes. It’s a fearless performance, one that gives heart to a film that could have just been yet another “monster movie.”

There is plenty of blood and gore, and a few minor characters meet their ends at the jaws of the gigantic gators along the way. There’s a great sequence involving looters at a small store across the street from the house, and Haley and Dave have some gruesome injuries.

It wouldn’t be a monster movie without some jump scares, and the ones in Crawl are skillfully executed. I don’t normally scream or shriek during movies but I definitely yelped more than once, even when I was fully expecting a gator to jump out at any moment.

Crawl – Courtesy Paramount Pictures

Alexandre Aja directed, and he keeps things at a galloping pace as usual. Horror fans might remember him as the director of the aptly named High Tension (which I loved), as well as the remakes of The Hills Have Eyes, and Piranha 3D.

Is some of Crawl‘s storyline implausible? Absolutely, but that in no way ruins the experience of watching a huge alligator chew someone’s arm off, or interferes with the thrill of watching Haley swim for her life.

dark. Next. Sam Raimi can’t wait to get behind the camera again

If you’re looking for a fast-paced, bloody fun way to kill 90 minutes this summer, head on over to your nearest air conditioned theater and check out Crawl. Just make sure you hold on to your popcorn!

Do you enjoy a good old summertime monster movie? Share your favorites in the comments section.