Written by Michael Rasmussen, Shaun Rasmussen
Directed by Alaxandre Aja
Alexandra Aja started out his directorial journey into horror filmmaking with 2003’s showstopper HAUTE TENSION. Since then, he turned up the gore in THE HILLS HAVE EYES (2006) and made Harry Potter atone for the sins of his flesh in HORNS (2013). His latest is a demolition derby of ascending thrills, spills and tantalising scares you know are coming but are helpless in avoiding. Haley is getting it in the neck from her concerned sister thousands of miles away that dad isn’t answering his phone. In order to check in on him, and quell her sibling’s fears, she defies the police blockade and drives into a hurricane devastated part of Florida the emergency services have been evacuating for days. When she finds him, he’s beat up and unconscious in the crawlspace of their old family home. Outside the storm rages, so naturally she draws on all her strength to get him to safety, but there’s a problem – a couple of adult alligators are also down there too. A battle wills and derring-do are required to escape these prehistoric predators. Second problem, it’s now flooding outside and that water has few places to go. Unfortunately, they are in one huge receptacle and so the water fills up the crawlspace - quickly. What was once a place fraught with danger just got more dangerous. The water naturally makes it harder for the humans to move about. Correspondingly, it makes it easier for pea-brained giant lizards to stalk the human down.
Each set piece hits you with a shot of adrenalin that will make you jump...
Michael/Shawn Rasmussen’s script is forever exciting and action- packed as Haley and her dad are constantly faced with working out a new ways to overcome their insurmountable odds. There’s even time for the broken relationship between father and daughter to be patched up, but it’s the pacing and escalation of the terror that really make this film so enjoyable. Every obstacle Haley manages to get through is replaced by something even more challenging and/or death defying - courtesy of our good friend and occasional bête noir Mother Earth. Aja really does revel in stripping away any advantage Haley might acquire and tearing her poor father limb from limb. Realism and plausibility don’t rank too highly, but don’t be fooled into thinking this is SNAKES ON A PLANE high concept silliness. CRAWL plays the horror straight and your investment in the characters ensures there’s an emotional edge - key, bleak moments will take your breath away. Each set piece hits you with a shot of adrenalin that will make you jump, hope for the father/daughter escape and be glad you don’t live in a place where alligators are a threat when nature decides to turn civilised society upside down.