CRAWL: Thrilling Fun Chomping Viewing

I am thrilled to announce that plans have been put in place to keep Salty Popcorn running into its 14th year in 2020 and as part of said plans I would like to introduce you to our newest Salty Kernel, Elie Elkorr, who provides us with his first review in CRAWL.

Elie joins us as a uni student studying law, paired with an obsessive nature about movies and a small stint as an usher at a local cinema. The cinema manager introduced us, he submitted an “audition” review of JAWS (that I will publish) and he has a lot of enthusiasm to make up for this wearying critic. The perfect fit.

CRAWL is in cinemas now, we couldn’t make it to screenings pre-release and Elie offered to review it. It is a Paramount Pictures film, runs for 87mins and is rated MA15+.

Barry Pepper and Kaya Scodelario in CRAWL
Barry Pepper and Kaya Scodelario

BY ELIE ALKORR

CRAWL SYNOPSIS: VERY BASIC BUT THAT’S WHY IT WORKS:

Fun fact: CRAWL was inspired by a true alligator event in Florida where an alligator was discovered in a kitchen. Check it out HERE.

CRAWL’s story is definitely not inventive. However, it doesn’t need to be.

The premise is simple…… During a Category 5 hurricane, Haley (Kaya Scodelario) attempts to rescue her father (Barry Pepper) from a basement. With the house flooding, Haley must rescue her father while a group of bloodthirsty alligator’s hunt for their main course.

And there you have it. An 87-minute creature feature film with a great atmosphere (the hurricane) and a secluded location in a house basement. Cheap sets sorted.

Barry Pepper in CRAWL
Barry Pepper

WHO NEEDS THOR AND VALKYRIE WHEN CRAWL HAS TERESA AND VINCE FROM THE MAZE RUNNER:

Just when you thought the formidable duo of Chris Hemsworth and Tessa Thompson was set to ignite their on-screen chemistry in MIB: INTERNATIONAL (we all know how that went…) director Alexandre Aja had his own iconic duo up his sleeve to take on a hurricane and some alligators. THE MAZE RUNNER’s Kaya Scodelario and Barry Pepper. You might also know Scodelario from her role as Carina Smith in Disney’s PIRATES OF THE CARIBBEAN: DEAD MEN TELL NO TALES. Oh, and you might know Barry Pepper as the awesome sniper and brave soldier who stormed the beaches of Normandy with Tom Hanks in Steven Spielberg’s 1998 Oscar-winning film SAVING PRIVATE RYAN. Enough rambling on about our characters’ real-life background. You probably would like to know how they fared when pitted against a Category 5 hurricane and some bloodthirsty gators.

Both Scodelario and Pepper provide solid performances. Pepper, in particular, is excellent. That’s taking nothing away from Scodelario; she is a badass in most scenes. Both characters are provided with a decent enough backstory to flesh them out. It’s not Oscar-worthy character development, but it’s enough to keep the audience invested, and that’s really all that’s needed for a film like CRAWL.

Kaya Scodelario in CRAWL
Kaya Scodelario

PROOF THAT SMALL BUDGET FILMS CAN STILL WORK AND THRILL:

For a film that costs $13.5 million, the visual effects and set designers have done really well and it’s truly a testimony to what film studios can achieve with such limited funds. The hurricane looked great and was a character in itself, so well done to the SFX crew.

There is a great sense of confinement and claustrophobia in CRAWL. The location of a house basement is utilised to provide some great suspenseful and thrilling moments that gave my bones chills. If you’re a fan of water fading into crimson red, there is certainly some side characters willing to be gator sacrifices for your macabre viewing enjoyment. I think you know what happens here. Chomp chomp bye-bye. I also found myself cringing at some of the more gruesome moments thanks to some fantastic practical makeup effects.

Kaya Scodelario in CRAWL
Kaya Scodelario

FAMILIAR TROPES:

Like many creature features, CRAWL does fall into the cliched trap of ‘why didn’t you just do that?’ or ‘you could have done that’ moments when it comes to certain character decisions. There are also a few moments that require suspended disbelief eg. a human out-swimming an alligator that can reach up to speeds of 20mph in water.

SEE YA LATER ALLIGATOR:

CRAWL has just enough bite to be a fun, popcorn thriller that is efficient in getting down to bone-crushing entertainment. The film provides enough solid creature thrills and gore to keep it floating above the water line and similar styled films.

YOUR CRITIC:

Elie Elkorr is a proud film critic and writer for Salty Popcorn. He is a movie fanatic and also runs his own Twitter page for movie reviews and news @TweetEReviews1. He likes calling out movies when they provide social commentary rather than focusing on actual story and doesn’t care what anyone thinks about it. His views are his own. He is also a Law and Film student on the side and is the heir to being Black Widow’s Boyfriend.

** Images used are courtesy of various sources on Google or direct from the distributor or publisher. Credit has been given to photographers where known – images will be removed on request.