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Blu-ray Review: Crawl

October 10, 2019 | by Herija Green | Comments (0)
Ya ain’t gettin’ out that way.

If you look somewhere near the intersection of a disaster movie and a horror flick you’ll find Crawl, directed by Alexandra Aja, who is probably best known to American audiences for his work on the remake of Wes Craven‘s The Hills Have Eyes. We’re always up for a good underwater scare, and though that usually means sharks we still had high hopes for Crawl. Time to see if it lived up to our expectations or if it should be flushed into the sewer.

THE PLOT

After finishing up her swim practice at the University of Florida, Haley (Kaya Scodelario; Maze Runner) gets a call from her sister. She’s been unable to reach their dad (Barry Pepper; Saving Private Ryan), who lives in a coastal town in the path of a Category 5 hurricane. Against her sister’s wishes and the instructions of local law enforcement, Haley drives down to check on him. Unable to locate him at his apartment, she drives to her childhood home where she eventually finds him unconscious under the house.

As Haley attempts to move him she finds she’s not alone as a large alligator emerges, forcing her to backtrack and drag her dad to safety behind some piping. She’s able to revive her dad, who has suffered a laceration and a broken leg, and the two begin trying to figure out how to get out of the crawlspace. Haley’s next attempt ends badly when a second alligator gets a hold of her, opening up her leg in the process.

With no obvious means of escape and no way to contact anyone, the pair must also contend with another problem as the hurricane is driving down rain and starting to flood the crawlspace. Now under extreme time pressure to find a way out or drown, Haley must rely on her ability as a swimmer to escape the alligators and rescue her wounded father.

THE GOOD

At less than 90 minutes, Crawl doesn’t waste a lot of time. Outside of the opening scene at a pool and the drive down, everything is contained within the house and focuses almost exclusively on Haley and Dave. The duo handle their roles effectively, showing their love for one another in a trying time but also expressing frustration with what led them to this point. It helps build a bond where you want to see them escape.

Kaya Scodelario undoubtedly handles the heavy lifting, though. With her father incapacitated she’s left to do all the physical work, displaying an endearing mix of determination, fear and frustration as she tries to get out of an impossible situation. It’s hard to say if anyone else in that role would’ve fared as well. It’s good casting.

We’ve been subjected to plenty of bad CGI gators over the years — seriously, if you’ve never seen the alligator attack in Eraser, watch it — but the ones here looked dangerous and creepy, which was important since poorly constructed gators would’ve killed the mood. Instead they create a constant menace that movies like Lake Placid never could, only adding the occasional human character as gator chow to remind you of the stakes.

THE BAD

If anything, the gators are almost too lethal. Everyone other than the main two characters enters and exits the film incredibly fast. Ostensibly they’re there to offer aid, at least potentially, but in practice they’re only there to be ripped apart to add more bloodshed. The group of looters that meets an untimely demise could’ve been made scummier to produce some level of satisfaction in their deaths. Instead everyone comes across as hapless. Also, those CGI spiders looked awful.

THE BONUS FEATURES

There’s a robust making-of featurette and secondary look at the CGI that combine for almost 40 minutes of extra content, which is roughly half the length of the feature. A conceptualized and animated alternate opening is worth watching, if only to see what a much better decision they made to stick with what they had. Around six minutes of deleted and extended scenes add very little other a little insight into Haley’s struggles in the morning swim relay.

OVERALL

If you’re looking for some good, white-knuckle scares and close calls that won’t tax your brain or demand much of your time, Crawl definitely fits the bill.

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Video Game Review: Tom Clancy’s Ghost Recon Breakpoint

October 10, 2019 | by Herija Green | Comments (0)
There’s plenty of stuff to blow up in Breakpoint. When last we caught up with Tom Clancy’s Ghost Recon, the series had made the switch from its mostly linear third-person roots to the open-world sandbox format in Wildlands. Two years later, Ubisoft is back with Ghost Recon Breakpoint, which retains the open-world setting and some of […]
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Blu-ray Review: Annabelle Comes Home

October 7, 2019 | by Herija Green | Comments (0)
It’s BEHIND YOU!!!! When James Wan directed The Conjuring in 2013, it was impossible to guess just how quickly that franchise would grow and expand. Now, just six years later, The Conjuring universe is getting its seventh installment with Annabelle Comes Home, which is third film to feature the titular doll and joins The Curse of […]
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Blu-ray Review: Shaft

September 23, 2019 | by Herija Green | Comments (0)
Matrix cosplay is still going strong. While the glory days of the Shaft films were before my time, I had a friend in high school that somehow became a big fan. His affection for John Shaft rubbed off on me to an extent, and though I’ve never gone back and watched the original Richard Roundtree […]
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Video Game Review: Torchlight II

September 22, 2019 | by Herija Green | Comments (0)
Time for some loot. It seems like every week brings multiple ports from the PC or mobile world to consoles with an even greater number hitting the Nintendo Switch thanks it to being the last entrant into the current generation. In that environment it’s shocking that it has taken Torchlight II seven years to make […]
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