CRAWL: Screw Lake Placid, We Have a New King of The Killer Lizard Thrillers (Blu-ray Review)

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Producer Sam Raimi (Evil Dead) and director Alexandre Aja (The Hills Have Eyes) deliver “a suspenseful thrill ride” (Jim Vejvoda, IGN) in CRAWL, coming to Blu-ray, DVD and On Demand October 15 from Paramount Home Entertainment.  Here is my review of the blu-ray:

crawl_blurayAs a hurricane tears through Florida, Haley (Kaya Scodelario) rushes to find her father (Barry Pepper), who is injured and trapped in the crawl space of their home.  With the storm intensifying and water levels rising, the pair face an even bigger threat lurking below the surface.


Review:

Screw Lake Placid. There’s a new king in the angry lizard horror genre and its name is CRAWL! Director Alexandre Aja’s killer animal thriller is absolutely one of the most surprising and fun action movies of 2019. I realize that alligators aren’t likely to be as vicious and kill-crazy as the ones featured in this film, even with a hurricane to stress them out, but the circumstances all felt very believable and scary as hell to me so I shut my Nat Geo brain right off and enjoyed the ride.

Kaya Scodelario is our leading lady and she delivers just as strong a performance as Blake Lively did in The Shallows (another gem of an animal horror thriller). Although much of the film focuses on just her and her onscreen father’s survival as the house floods and killer gators are wreaking havoc, there are some great flashbacks to her childhood as a competitive swimmer and these little moments really propel the material in emotionally powerful ways. I cared about these characters and I did NOT want them to die at all. So this tension really added some layers to the CRAWL experience for me, especially with Barry Pepper who plays the injured father and and subsequent ultimate badass in the basement. Pepper’s supporting performance is just another glaring reminder here that Hollywood is still under-utilizing this incredible actor.

CRAWL is a fast-paced wild ride that I can only describe as the ultimate gator attack cinematic experience. I can safely say that this is hands down the best use of bad alligators onscreen – ever? What the hell else is there aside from the cheesy Lake Placid (was that a crocodile in that one though?)? It doesn’t matter what else there is, because CRAWL is the best one. I was pleasantly surprised how well done the film was and even during moments where I knew that the gators were CGI, I was still entertained from beginning to end. The action is relentless and the movie is entertaining to no end – don’t miss out on CRAWL, you need to more scary man-eating lizards in your life.

Kaya Scodelario and Barry Pepper star in CRAWL from Paramount Pictures. Photo Credit: Courtesy Paramount Pictures.

Special Features:

  • Intro to Alternate Opening
  • Alternate Opening
  • Deleted and Extended Scenes
  • Beneath Crawl
  • Category 5 Gators: The VFX of Crawl
  • Alligator Attacks

For a Florida set movie, CRAWL was actually filmed in SERBIA of all places which blows my mind. The making-of documentary is really great here and it really gives you an idea of how tough shooting this kind of action film was. The small-town setting was almost entirely built on a sound-stage so they could flood the streets and homes. It was really cool seeing how much work was put into the setting to make it believable.

The animated alternate opening was incredibly messed up and as scary as it was, I’m glad they didn’t film and use it because it would have set up a completely different vibe for the rest of the movie. I appreciated seeing it though and it was damn cool, but it likely would have been a little too intense in live-action.

The special features are over 45 minutes in length and I loved them all, except for the Alligator Attacks segment, which is literally just every violent gator scene from the film compiled into a highlight reel of watery death. Everything else is stellar.

Rating: 4.5/5

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