In an age where every horror film, like “Us” or “Hereditary,” is trying to be complex and meaningful, it’s nice to enjoy a fun summer horror film. “Crawl” delivers all of this pulse-pounding entertainment while also having relatable protagonists and a sense of isolation.
The film follows college swimmer Haley, played by Kaya Scodelario, who drives towards a Category Five Hurricane in order to help her father, played by Barry Pepper, get out of the storm. Haley soon realizes that she and her father are not alone as the hurricane has released dozens of alligators who kill anything that moves in the water. The pair become trapped in a flooded house with the water constantly rising and must work together to find help and stay alive.
Whenever someone mentions greatest horror film of all time, titles like “The Shining,” “Alien” and “Jaws” come to mind. Part of what makes them fantastic films is that there is a sense of isolation and that there is no escape from the monster. “Crawl” has most of the film occur in this one house and the odds are further stacked against the protagonists as the water keeps rising. The longer the film goes on, the more exciting it is and the setting greatly helps the film.
Scodelario gives a fantastic performance and delivers a determined yet vulnerable character. Every time the audience learns more about Haley, these moments feel earned rather than being tacked on. She is also smart, making several decisions an average person in her situation probably wouldn’t, which is such a relief from the stereotypical horror film protagonist. Her chemistry with Pepper is fantastic and the father-daughter relationship creates a great sense of empathy for these characters.
Pacing is everything in horror and there is never a dull moment in “Crawl.” With a runtime of just 87 minutes, the film gets all of the backstory needed out in the open within the first ten minutes and everything after is nothing but scary thrills. There is never a moment of boredom.
“Crawl” may not be an epic horror film like this year’s “Midsommar” or the upcoming “IT: Chapter 2,” but it has a sense of fun and is a very enjoyable film for anyone who likes horror. Whereas “Jaws” got everyone out of the water, “Crawl” will make everyone want to stay out of the state of Florida for fear of being eaten by alligators.