Crawl is a horror movie available on Amazon Prime in which a young woman named Haley (Kaya Scodelario) attempts to save her father during a hurricane but ends up trapped with him in a flooding house filled not just with water, but also alligators.
I’m not normally one to blame the victim, but people in horror movies routinely make terrible decisions while we yell pointlessly but with increasingly frustrated indignation at the screen. Let’s discuss (spoilers ahead):
- She lives in Florida, a state notorious for both its devastating hurricanes and its aggressive alligators. It’s also got terrible traffic, too many tourists, abhorrent gun laws, irresponsible gun owners, impossibly fat roaches, a sinkhole epidemic, and, oh yeah, Floridians.
- She flouts all good cell phone etiquette by accepting a video call from her sister in a change room where not only are innocent bystanders unknowingly getting naked on camera, but Haley is knowingly doing so as well. Said sister guilts her into checking in on their father.
- She should have cut her deadbeat dad out of her life years ago.
- She drives toward a category 5 hurricane.
- A nice guy at a checkpoint tells her to turn around, but not only does she break the rules and not comply, she pretends to listen and asks him to risk his life checking on her dad (Barry Pepper) too.
- She goes into the crawlspace underneath her childhood home (nothing good has ever happened or ever will in a crawlspace).
- She goes into a stinky, rat-infested crawlspace that EVEN HER DOG WILL NOT GO INTO.
- She finds her father bleeding and unconscious and instead of thinking ‘this is a job for qualified paramedics’, she grabs a disgusting tarp and decides to drag his mangled body through a space so overwhelmingly dirty it already consumed her flip flops.
- When she learns the hard way that a very large and apparently very hungry alligator has made the crawlspace her new home, she does not alter her plan one bit.
- She fails to use her father’s body as bait or as a distraction. The man is dead weight but likely at least a 30 minute meal for even an above-average gator. Sprinkle him with salt and RUN!
- She assumes there is only the one alligator.
- She is holding a working cell phone, punches in the 911, but doesn’t immediately press send because there’s no real urgency, plenty of time to look around first. Right?
- She thinks she has an advantage over alligators because she can swim.
- Instead of warning away innocent passerby, she selfishly beckons them toward the danger and then fails to take advantage as they inevitably become gator happy meals. But she does pat down what’s left of their corpses for useful items.
- She thinks this is a good time to talk about their father-daughter issues.
- She constantly reaches for her father’s gator-mangled arm with her own gator-mangled arm. USE YOUR OTHER ARM, HALEY.
- She practically sends the alligators an invitation to dinner the way she flaunts her skinny white limbs, splashing about in the water like she’s an appetizing snack. By the back half of the movie, even I was salivating!
- When she was in the shower stall with the alligator trying to ram its way in, she was terrified. Now that the gator’s in the shower and she’s outside, she thinks she’s safe.
- She attempts to save her dog, which is basically amending the dinner invitation to say “Look, now we’re a three course meal!”
- She’s very injudicious with a crowbar. That last inch of air pocket where your father’s lips are gasping for their last few breaths is probably not the best place to ram your metal rod. Unless your anger has finally overcome you, in which case just leave him to drown, no need to disfigure him too.
- She fails to realize that the dad-sized hole she just opened up is also a gator-sized hole.
I’m being mean because I can’t help it. Also because creature features make it so easy. But even I must admit that as far as horror movies go, this one’s pretty decent. It’s a strange way to strengthen a father-daughter bond, but sure. It could happen. Is it a bit ridiculous? Of course. But no more ridiculous than clowns in a sewer or little girls in VHS tapes or snakes on a plane. Director Alexandre Aja manages to balance the claustrophobia of rising water with the random terror of gnashing teeth. The CGI is excellent. Scodelario and Pepper are 100% game. Crawl gleefully brings the senseless violence and turns an entire hurricane’s worth of water red tearing its victims apart limb by limb.