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Blu-ray Review: Crawl

October 15, 2019

By John Corrado

★★½ (out of 4)

When a massive, Category 5 hurricane hits off the coast of Florida, Hayley (Kaya Scodelario) goes to check in on her father (Barry Pepper), and ends up trapped in the crawl space under his house with a massive alligator that has made its way down through a drainage pipe.

With the storm raging outside, and floodwaters rapidly rising, Hayley and her injured father do everything they can to survive and avoid being ripped apart by gators. This is the basic premise of Crawl, a simple but fairly well executed survival thriller directed by Alexandre Aja and produced by Sam Raimi that delivers exactly what you expect from this setup, nothing more and nothing less.

The plot itself is simplistic, and the character development that we do get feels pretty basic, never really going beyond rudimentary elements in terms of sketching out its main players. Haley is a professional swimmer, and the film opens with a brief introduction to her at a swim meet, intercut with flashbacks to her as a kid (Tina Pribicevic), when her father used to coach her and was her biggest champion. The two have now grown somewhat estranged, and are forced to reconnect over the course of the film due to the extreme circumstances that they find themselves in.

The entire point of Crawl is to put these characters in impossible situations so we can watch as they try to escape, and on these modest terms, the film’s stripped down approach largely works. As a series of suspenseful and well staged set-pieces, Crawl provides decent entertainment, offering plenty of moments of both tension and gore. It won’t exactly stick with you afterwards, but it works in the moment as a lean, mean creature feature that wastes no time and offers a taut thrill ride.

The Blu-ray also includes an alternate opening that is presented in the form of an animated motion comic, which is preceded by a short intro from the director. This is followed by a trio of deleted and extended scenes (I Guess I’m Off the Team, You Were Never Going to Evacuate, and Don’t Quit on Me), a nearly half-hour “behind the scenes” featurette entitled Beneath Crawl, an in-depth look at the visual effects in the featurette Category 5 Gators: The VFX of Crawl, and a piece called Alligator Attacks which offers a highlight reel of the film’s carnage.

Crawl is a Paramount Home Media Distribution release. It’s 87 minutes and rated 14A.

Street Date: October 15th, 2019

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