Director: Alexandre Aja
Cast: Kaya Scodelario, Barry Pepper
Release Date: October 15, 2019
A Review By: Kevin Lovell
Film Rating: 9/10
Disc Rating: 8/10
As a hurricane tears through Florida, Haley (Kaya Scodelario) rushes to find her father (Barry Pepper), who is injured and trapped in the crawl space of their home. With the storm intensifying and water levels rising, the pair face an even bigger threat lurking below the surface.
‘Crawl’ joins Haley (Scodelario) who amid the onset of an increasingly dangerous hurricane must make her way through the treacherous surroundings to locate her missing father (Pepper), her search eventually resulting in finding her dad injured and unconscious in the crawlspace under their old family home. As she tries to find a way to help him and get them both out from the area, she quickly discovers that the wild weather elements from the hurricane have allowed some massively sized alligators to find their way into the crawlspace as well. Now, she and her already injured father must find a way out before the storm floods the entire underground area, while somehow avoiding the deadly gators hunting them down in the process.
Directed by Alexandre Aja (High Tension, Piranha 3D) from a screenplay by Michael Rasmussen and Shawn Rasmussen (The Ward, Dark Feed), Aja does a fantastic job at the helm of ‘Crawl’ guiding along the wild intensity and terror with a perfect pacing and style and as a result delivering what is almost surely one of his best directorial efforts yet. The film also benefits from the capable limited cast which includes Kaya Scodelario (The Maze Runner franchise) and Barry Pepper (Monster Trucks) along with some significantly smaller, supporting characters and each does a great job of making the struggle and human elements within work remarkably well.
‘Crawl’ is a brutally intense, lightning paced thriller and creature feature with plenty of scares, nasty moments and terror, all balanced throughout a ninety minute ride that quickly gets moving and doesn’t relent for a minute thereafter; dragging the viewer along for a wildly exciting and unnerving adventure for survival that’s nothing short of fantastic and also terrifying in its own right. A perfectly constructed concept with two brutal forces of nature at their most aggressive up against two people and a family bond, as well as their refusal to give up, and the combination and passion within not only results in a perfectly crafted and paced thriller with plenty to keep you on your toes, but also an emotional journey with a surprising amount of heart at its core and some layered characters you actually care for. Director Alexandre Aja does a great job steering the intense fun along every wild turn and his careful guidance at the helm is perfectly complimented by leads Kaya Scodelario and Barry Pepper who both greatly help you to truly relate and care for these two individuals trapped in an unfathomable situation. Fans of creature/monster attack films and anyone that enjoys an uncomfortably intense ride that will keep you on the edge of your seat until the final frames will probably want to make a definite point of checking out ‘Crawl’ whenever possible if you haven’t yet had the pleasure. It’s one impressive thriller that doesn’t let up and is not to be missed.
Overall, ‘Crawl’ is an outstanding thriller and creature flick that will promptly grab hold and send you on a wildly intense, terrifying and often quite bloody ride that moves along at a remarkably swift pace while still somehow managing to increase the tension every step of the way. ‘Crawl’ easily earns one of my highest possible recommendations. It’s a magnificent and almost uncomfortably intense thriller filled with surprises, terror and quite a bit of heart that genre fans and followers of Aja’s career won’t even want to think about missing out on. This one definitely won’t have any trouble proving itself well worth ninety minutes of your time and the price of a rental if nothing else, and those tempted to drop the money on a blind purchase of the Blu-ray release probably won’t regret doing so as it also seems likely to be one with great replay value.
The Blu-ray release of ‘Crawl’ features a full 1080p High Definition presentation utilizing the film’s original 2.39:1 Cinemascope Aspect Ratio. The video presentation looks fantastic altogether and provides a smooth, sharp and richly detailed presentation from start to finish with no notable faults to be found throughout. It holds up impressively even during the numerous darkly lit and/or fast moving sequences, never causing anything onscreen to become negatively affected, let alone rendered indiscernible. Overall, this is a wonderful high definition video presentation further complimented by a more than adequate bitrate that shouldn’t disappoint the fans or first time viewers.
The Blu-ray release features a 7.1 channel DTS-HD Master Audio soundtrack. This multichannel soundtrack is a constant auditory assault that delivers a crisp, clean and insanely aggressive audio presentation throughout. It repeatedly takes full advantage of all seven available channels in order to send the violent rain and weather effects whipping full force throughout the various speakers quite regularly, in addition to attacking gators and flooded water, along with boats and plenty more, and all the while never resulting in any dialogue or other audio elements that might be occurring simultaneously becoming distorted or rendered inaudible in the process. Overall, this is a magnificent 7.1 DTS-HD MA soundtrack that sounds fantastic from start to finish and perfectly complements all of the onscreen tension and insanity.
The Blu-ray release of ‘Crawl’ includes some noteworthy bonus content that fans of the film should appreciate. Included on the release is a ‘Motion Comic Alternate Opening’ for the film (running approximately 5 minutes in length) as well as an ‘Introduction to the Alternate Opening’ (approximately 30 seconds), in addition to a few ‘Deleted and Extended Scenes’ from the movie (running approximately 6 minutes altogether) and a couple Behind the Scenes Featurettes that explore different aspects of bringing the film to life and featuring interviews/comments with the cast and crew, plus behind the scenes footage and more. The included Featurettes are: ‘Beneath Crawl’ (running approximately 28 minutes) and ‘Category 5 Gators: The VFX of Crawl’ (approximately 11 minutes). Also included is ‘Alligator Attacks’ (approximately 90 seconds) which collects all of the alligator attack moments from throughout the film into a short showcase reel.