More than forty-four years after its historic release, the impact of Jaws still lingers. The shark-filled summer blockbuster spectacle has inspired numerous attempts to cash in on the concept, some successful and some not so much. The latest effort, Crawl, definitely belongs in the former column.
Aspiring swimmer Haley Keller (Kaya Scodelario) receives a concerning call from her sister, Beth, who tells her of a Category 5 hurricane that is headed straight for her home state of Florida. Even more troubling is the lack of response from their father, Dave (Barry Pepper), to multiple phone calls. Beth urges her to evacuate immediately, but Haley drives to check on her father instead.
Haley’s relationship with Dave has been very strained since he and her mother got a divorce. After not finding him at his condo, she makes her way to the family home in Coral Lake. Haley arrives and still can’t locate him, but hears some faint noises from the crawl space and decides to take a closer look.
She discovers Dave unconscious and badly injured. To her horror, she discovers the cause of his injury: a giant alligator. It turns out several alligators were able to gain access to the crawl space via a drainage pipe. What follows is a cat-and-mouse game between Haley and the deadly reptiles, an intense match of wits and skill.
Crawl is a pleasant and absolutely terrifying disaster film, the perfect treat on a hot summer afternoon. Haley and Dave’s backstory felt thin and somewhat contrived, but that’s acceptable. A movie like this hinges more on action scenes as opposed to character development. In that respect, Crawl succeeds quite well. The lack of light in the crawl space and sense of urgency to escape before drowning considerably added to the atmosphere and suspense.
I give Crawl three out of five stars.