There isn’t much to say about Alexandre Aja’s alligator creature horror Crawl, because it plays with so little. Immediately, we get tossed into the tale. There’s a hurricane, two stubborn family members (one that gets stuck, and another that refuses to not see him to see if he is okay), and a handful of gators swimming about. That’s basically it. It’s essentially Gravity if it took place in a flooding house instead of space. The film is literally just for people who want to see two (and somewhat more) people duke it out against nature’s deadly chainsaw swamp lizards. You don’t know too much about them, outside of the fact that they exist, and are present.
One thing that helps set this film a bit ahead of its peers is how heavily involved in its core relationship it is. You don’t see too many flashbacks, but you do get the strong sense of a bond between an athletic daughter (naturally she is a swimmer, which helps this film mightily in the convenience department) and her former-coach of a father. We get that her parents have separated, and that there is a rift in the family otherwise, particularly between these two: they continuously butt heads. We even see it in the film. All of that kind of works. It puts the fright night plot into perspective: we are witnessing a dysfunctional family.
Outside of this pairing, it’s alligator this, and hurricane that. I wish we had a bit more of an establishment maybe before things get complicated. I want more elements to be tossed up into the air, outside of literally a daughter that is her own guide. Of course, Aja knows this is for the people that just want blood. Well, if that’s what you came for, Crawl still only delvers very little. This isn’t even really an all out dismemberment factory, or anything of that nature. You get a slight glimpse of that kind of a film in the middle, but it isn’t enough to appease b-movie thrill seekers. So, we never get a true bloodbath, or a proper story about a family experiencing a schism. We get something kinda in the middle. I wasn’t satisfied. You may not be either.
Andreas Babiolakis has a Masters degree in Film and Photography Preservation and Collections management from Ryerson University, as well as a Bachelors degree in Cinema Studies from York University. His favourite times of year are the Criterion Collection flash sales and the annual Toronto International Film Festival.