Blu-ray Review: Crawl

STUDIO: Paramount | DIRECTOR: Alexandre Aja | CAST: Kaya Scodelario, Barry Pepper. Ross Anderson, Jose Palma, George Somner, Anson Boon
RELEASE DATE: Oct. 15, 2019 | PRICE: DVD $17.99, Blu-ray/DVD C0mbo $22.99
BONUSES: alternate openings, deleted and extended scenes, featuettes
SPECS: R | 87 min. | Action horror | 2.39:1 widescreen | DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1

RATINGS (out of 5 dishes): Movie  1/2 | Audio | Video | Overall 1/2

An entertaining and appropriately creepy entry in the alligator/crocodile-on-the-loose sub-genre that has given us the satiric Alligator, the bonkers Eaten Alive and the enjoyable Lake Placid, Crawl gets its scares by up-close-and-personal encounters with the creatures in damply claustrophobic settings.

The story is threadbare, following competitive swimming Floridian Haley (Kaya Scodelario of The Maze Runner franchise) as she tries to locate her estranged father (Barry Pepper, Kill the Messenger) during a Category 5 hurricane. As the flood waters rise, Haley and Dad find themselves sharing the basement of Dad’s ramshackle home with some ornery, flesh-seeking critters. With communications down, how will the two survive?

And that’s it! But it’s a testament to helmer Alexandre Aja’s expertise that it is enough, provoking tension and terror on a rather flimsy premise. The filmmaker, whose credits include the extreme French thriller High Tension and Piranha 3D, clearly knows how to build suspense by putting his characters through the ringer in increasingly precarious situations:  Crawl plays likes like a crafty amalgamation of odds-defying escapes and  anxiety-inducing amphibian sequences that would make Indiana Jones squirm.

The mid-summer theatrical release pocketed about $40 million at the box-office on a relatively low shot-in-Serbia budget. Horror hounds will respond because:  a. it’s not a remake; b. it’s not from Blumhouse; and c. it delivers the toothy goods. In this case, a snap judgement is a good one.

Buy or Rent Crawl

About Irv

Irv Slifkin has been reviewing movies since before he got kicked off of his high school radio station for panning The Towering Inferno in 1974. He has written the books VideoHound’s Groovy Movies: Far-Out Films of the Psychedelic Era and Filmadelphia: A Celebration of a City’s Movies, and has contributed film reportage and reviews to such outlets as Entertainment Weekly, The Hollywood Reporter, Video Business magazine and National Public Radio.