Brutal, relentless, satisfying

Starring Kaya Scodelario, Barry Pepper

A young woman, while attempting to save her father during a Category 5 hurricane, finds herself trapped in a flooding house and must fight for her life against alligators.

Director: Alexandre Aja

Writers: Michael Rasmussen, Shawn Rasmussen

Stars: Kaya Scodelario, Barry Pepper, Morfydd Clark



Lean and mean, just how I like my genre films. First act set-up concisely unfolds against a backdrop of dark skies and the ceaseless roar of torrential rain, so Crawl’s suspenseful atmosphere is building from its earliest minutes.

Reminiscent of Don’t Breathe and Green Room, director Alexandre Aja uses a claustrophobic setting to fantastic effect. A confined crawlspace becomes the stage for increasingly intense set-pieces, an ever-constricting cage of pipes and muck-encrusted brick. The tight environment never seems dull, since varied and escalating obstacles constantly shift the dynamic of the location. That doesn’t change even when the gory thrills move to other areas.


The movie’s two protagonists may be cliched but their father-daughter chemistry and simple personalities effectively sustain Crawl’s premise. That premise being one part worsening hurricane, one part claustrophobic setting, and one part ravenous gators. The alligators of Crawl are prime movie monsters. They would be memorable under normal circumstances, but the suffocating space heightens their terror. Armored bulk fills the crawlspace, lengthy bodies wind around pillars, eyes glint in the shadows. As the flood waters rise, the nature of their threat changes, from hulking growling beast to sleek submerged predator. Crawl provides its reptilian stars with plenty of opportunities to crush bone and tear flesh, and it doesn’t skimp on the aftermaths either. Victims and wince-inducing gore abound.


Crawl knows exactly what kind of movie it is, and absolutely succeeds in delivering. It’s a film as brutal, relentless, and satisfyingly simple as its gators.