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.
A creature feature, produced by Sam Raimi, and directed by Alexandre Aja? Count me in. When I first saw the news I couldn’t wait. When I saw the trailer, it confirmed my excitement. Unfortunately the real world interjected and prevented me from hitting the theater to see Crawl, so color me excited when a copy of the Blu-ray arrived on my doorstep for review. Would it meet my expectations? Probably not, but it still had a good chance of being an entertaining movie. Alex Aja has a pretty solid track record, and after his remake of The Hills Have Eyes, I’ll give anything he has anything at all to do with a good college try.
One thing you’ll have to get over immediately is the fact that the gators in this movie are CGI. Thankfully it’s well done CGI, so never for a moment did it take me out of the movie. Another thing Crawl has going for it is that it does have a good deal of practical effects too. Rather than CGI’ing the crawlspace the movie takes place within, as well as the water our actors are submerged in, giant tanks were built, and the actors were actually down in that crammed space, in the water. It’s a pretty good mixture of CGI and practical for the carnage. Injuries are practical and stuff like compound fractures and bite marks look great. Unfortunately, when you empty a handgun into the mouth of a CGI gator, you’re going to have to use some CGI, and so I found it to be perfectly acceptable, or at the very least, not distracting by any means.
Crawl is an entertaining movie, with some pretty decent effects, solid acting from Barry Pepper and Kaya Scodelario. Also, for the uninitiated, you might get a couple of good frights. Several moments made my butthole pucker a little bit, as far as jump scares go. And I mean jump scares, not false scares. No books falling off the shelf here, just giant gators with glowing red eyes jumping out of dark corners. So, maybe Crawl won’t totally live up to the expectations created by names like Sam Raimi an Alexandre Aja, but it’s a highly tense and entertaining little Floridian romp, it’s a little scary, and there’s plenty of carnage, despite most of the movie taking place in one little confined space with just the two actors. I highly recommend it to everyone looking for a good time this Halloween.
The Blu-ray release of Crawl is surprisingly good. The PQ is excellent, as is the audio, with an AVC-encoded 1080p transfer in 2.39:1, and a DTS-HD MA 7.1 track, as well as several foreign 5.1 DD tracks, Crawl looks and sounds amazing, especially upscaled to 4K resolution. Other sites have listed the extras as lacking, but I don’t understand that. We get an alternate animated opening with optional commentary, deleted and extended scenes, a 30 minute behind-the-scenes documentary, and a special effects doc, there’s about 45 minutes to an hour worth of bonus content, which is more than we usually get with new releases these days. Overall Crawl is an excellent release of a highly entertaining horror movie, and I would highly recommend it to all.
- Intro to Alternate Opening
- Alternate Opening
- Deleted and Extended Scenes
- Beneath Crawl
- Category 5 Gators: The VFX of Crawl
- Alligator Attacks