Crawl, for all its contemporary climate change relevance, is about an upcoming hurricane in Florida that is slowly turning the state into a giant swimming pool. Haley (Scodelario) doesn’t live there but she used to. She’s training in swimming, and if she’s at a camp, it’s special enough to be insistent on the girls racing for all the dice, and once you’re at the other side of the pool and have to turn around, you don’t have time to grab the edge and reangle yourself; you gotta flip over in the snap of a finger so you’re racing up feet-first. She got trained by her father Dave (Pepper), who for some reason isn’t being responsive to phone calls, and he lives where the supposed worst part of the Category 5 hurricane is about to take place. Despite having distanced herself from her Dad for a while, Haley decides to drive back down to her childhood home, having moved out for university, and she finds Dave’s cute poodle Sugar in the house, but no him. That is until Sugar reveals a secret basement Haley never knew about. A basement only about three-feet in height. Actually, it’s really a crawl space. She finds him there, but critically injured to the point of being unconscious...and there’s a crocodile lurking within, hungry and ready. Not to mention the water quickly rising from several cracks in the space.
There are several close calls in this movie. I knew that logically, as Haley is the only character in this film that has the power to get around, that if she was going to die in this film, she at least was going to survive for at least a specified amount of time. For the first halfway point, we’re more curious as to if these people will sustain any injuries and if they’ll be able to do their plan or if they’ll have to dangerously improvise.
The trailer made it seem like there is only one crocodile and he is the main fighter. In reality, there are several, and some Haley and Dave manage to kill. The problem with this is, while it is realistic there would be a few more crocodiles in the area hungry for flesh, most other horror movies have a main antagonist to root against. The best ones either don’t have backup behind them or have backup that isn’t as terrifying as the real deal. For some reason, an army of crocodiles perversely isn’t as terrifying as one single loner, and a one-single loner hunt story, like Don’t Breathe or The Shallows was what I was hoping for.
Even so, this is the kind of horror movie I tend to like, where it’s not obvious who is going to die, not obvious what the outcome will be, and features brave, tough and smart female characters. Er, character. The fact this is taking place during a flood is also a nice touch. As a proud member of the loud environmental movement, I like when mother nature’s wrath is acknowledged. I’ve also seen and read horror stories of people drowning from currents in floods sweeping through the roads and pulling them under, or having debris fallen under them.