There are really only two golden rules for making a good horror movie. One: have characters that you care about. Two: Keep the plot simple. That’s all you need in order to craft a horror which resonates. That’s why films like Halloween and The Texas Chainsaw Massacre still fascinate audiences decades after they were first released and why many imitators have been brushed aside and forgotten.
Director Alexandre Aja and writers Michael and Shawn Rasmussen know the mechanics of how to deliver an exciting and engaging horror movie – and that’s why Crawl will have you on the edge of your seat for most of its 90 minute running-time. It’s because of this simplicity that the $13.5 million film connected with audiences to the tune of almost $100 million worldwide.
Aja and the Rasmussens follow the afore mentioned rules to a ’T’. You care about Kaya Scodelario and Barry Pepper’s estranged daughter and father combo as they attempt to escape from a family of hungry alligators after becoming trapped in a house during a Category 5 hurricane. Those are the characters and that’s the set-up. What more could you want from an exceedingly well-crafted genre movie?
All the elements come together to make Crawl work as a thrilling piece of entertainment. It’s obvious that producer Sam Raimi knows a thing or two about horror movies and Alexandre Aja has shown his chops with films such as 2006’s The Hills Have Eyes remake, 2010’s Piranha 3D and Horns (the 2013 adaption of the Joe Hill novel). Meanwhile, siblings Michael and Shawn Ramussen have impressed over the last decade having written John Carpenter’s final directing credit, The Ward, alongside penning and helming the effective shockers Dark Feed and The Inhabitants.
Kaya Scodelario and Barry Pepper both work well delivering the dramatic notes, alongside the physical action. They spend most of their screen-time crawling around in water as they attempt to outsmart Florida’s indigenous inhabitants. They’re aided by some exceptional production design and top-notch digital effects. Never once did I ever think that the alligators weren’t real.
Crawl is one great time at the movies. Fun, energetic and thrilling – this is exactly what you want from a horror/thriller. Check it out.
Crawl comes with a 25 minute making-of, which covers the film’s production with interviews with the cast and crew. It packs an incredible amount of information into a relatively slim running time, but you’ll have a full understanding of how Alexandre Aja and company brought Crawl to the screen.