Review | 'Crawl' embraces B-movie trashiness to go deep in family struggles

Imagine mini-Godzillas inside your flooded basement, preying on you and your estranged dad who could not stop talking about your untapped potential in competitive swimming, amid a category-five hurricane in southwest Florida. Welcome to the world of Crawl, Alexandre Aja’s version of Jaws set in an old house.

While it is unapologetically a cheesy horror throwback to man vs. nature movies, it effectively uses the weather and the alligators in a residential setting as a metaphor for the family struggle between Hailey (Kaya Scodelario) and her former coach and divorced father, Dave (Barry Pepper). It may not be best to nitpick it for its absurdity because it embraces the trashiness of B-movies to illustrate the turmoil the two main characters are going through.

A few people enter the fray briefly but they might as well be credited as Lunch #1 and Lunch #2. Crawl is mostly a two-man show that does an admirable job in turning a somewhat family therapy session into a suspenseful survivalist horror flick. Ironically, the drama sometimes feels disruptive in some parts. It is when the gators and the storm let loose that you get to see Aja’s skills as a spookster.

If you want to watch a documentary about alligators, stay home. But if you want to be scared and have fun in the cinema, watch Crawl.

Rating: 9/10

The film distributor invited the reviewer to a private screening. Crawl is now showing in the Philippines.