Originality can be tricky to maintain in cinema, but the once formulaic horror genre has enjoyed something of a resurgence in recent years with filmmakers continually tweaking their interpretations. French director Alexandre Aja has previously tackled the slasher movie as well as delving into the downright absurd, and his latest effort falls firmly into the creature feature category. Crawl’s preposterous plot follows aspiring swimmer Haley (Kaya Scodelario) who, in the midst of a Florida hurricane and against the instruction of the local authorities, decides to visit her father. What’s the worst that could happen?
The screenplay comes from brothers Michael and Shawn Rasmussen who are associated with microbudget filmmaking, and their tongue-in-cheek script compliments this B-movie style. Ticking the boxes of various tropes, it’s never too challenging to see where the story is heading next, and yet this doesn’t diminish the dread that Aja conjures up throughout. As you would expect, Haley’s sense of logic is swiftly washed away in the storm, but skillful Scodelario gives the protagonist the required vim and vigour, and there are moments of nail-biting tension as she viciously fights her foes.
Crawl has a simple yet extremely suspenseful narrative, kept afloat by a tenacious performance from Kaya Scodelario. It might not be quite as snappy as the blood-thirsty alligators that swim in its murky waters, but Aja’s fun survival flick has a lot of bite!