Monday, 14 October 2019

Crawl (USA, 2019)

Crawl

USA | 2019 | D: Alexandre Aja


I don’t often talk about Hollywood blockbuster movies on this channel – and its debatable if this film is a blockbuster – but its definitely Hollywood. Classic Hollywood.

Crawl is a medium budget creature horror film that’s more Bait than Jaws – but with the added back drop of a massive hurricane. As if our characters weren’t already in enough danger.

Is Crawl a “so bad its good” movie, or a “so bad you should avoid it” movie? Watch on to find out.

Set in Florida during a category 5 hurricane, Crawl tells the story of Haley and her father Dave, played by Barry Pepper. After receiving a frantic phone call from her sister, Haley goes on the hunt to find her father who is trapped in their old house as the hurricane approaches.

Unbeknownst to Haley, the overflow drain has been breached by Alligators, and they're about to make Haley’s rescue mission a whole lot more difficult.

And if the gators don’t get Haley and her dad, the rising hurricane waters will.

I don’t know much about Alligators or Hurricanes, but I do like to think I know something about logic. And that is something that is sorely lacking in most characters in this film. Even the dog.

A series of unfortunate events conspire to make the rescue almost a futile effort. And the missing logic from our characters only add to the frustration to us, as the viewer.

Where should I start? First and foremost, I want to understand why neither Haley or Dave ever tried to smash out the weak looking brick work patterns on the basement wall and then crawl out of the new hole to safety? It doesn’t look like the bricks would need much in the way of a good whack to break open – and considering there were tools in the basement, including the shovel that Dave uses later on to half-decapitate a gator, this bit makes no sense to me. Now I realise two things – 1 is that the open brick patterns serves a purpose to flood the basement – but in reality it’s the first thing anyone would think to smash open. And 2 – if they did do that, then I realise we’d have a short film. But then the writers could have had more fun for the next hour putting Haley and Dave in more incredible and hard to survive scenarios. So there’s a missed opportunity.

The gators that are stuck into basement with Haley and Dave also don’t seem to be those of the killing variety – its either that or the skin of our two characters is so tough that these gators just can’t bite through them. I’m not gator expert, but I am pretty sure if one gets his whole mouth on your arm – he is probably going to bite your whole arm off, and not just leave a minor bite mark. Funny thing is we know these two gators are indeed killers, as one of them does eat the police man who comes to rescue them.

Also following up on the theme of me not being an expert on gators – one thing has me puzzled. Do gators kill for sport, or because they’re hungry? I can’t work that out based on this movie.

And in something that really shocked me for an American movie – it took over an hour until we saw the first gun. That has to be some kind of record for an American horror thriller movie?

But its not all bad – because there are quite a few laugh out loud moments in this movie to lighten up the mood.

I really liked the way Haley traps one of the gators in the shower. That’s both clever and utterly ridiculous – that a flimsy piece of shower glass could be strong enough to hold back a gator that wants to kill.

I also liked the nod to the Purge movies when the siren started just as the eye of the storm was passing through. It almost felt like a both a warning to all humans, and a sign to all gators that they could begin their hunt.

If you go into this movie realising that its not meant to be taken seriously, then its an enjoyable ride that will only briefly have you jumping in your seat over the scares and light gore. For a movie about gators hunting humans, it is surprisingly light on the gore – but then that’s what happens when Hollywood makes horror movies for teen audiences.

And there in lies the problem with this movie and someone like me watching it. It not aimed or marketed at me, and maybe not even at you. It’s a forgettable popcorn flick in the same vein as Bait, but not as fun – at least that had gore to go with its killer sharks.

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