Crawl (2019)

[7.5]

Director Alexandre Aja (High Tension) serves up a father/daughter survival thriller that takes place primarily in a basement full of alligators during a hurricane. Sound preposterous? Well, that’s part of the charm. But Aja and screenwriters Michael and Shawn Rasmussen give the tale enough verisimilitude to suck you in and make you root for these people — and their dog, too.

Kaya Scodelario and Barry Pepper deliver in physically and emotionally demanding roles (so does Cso-Cso the dog, for that matter). The film may go a step too far in tying their relationship to the film’s overly simplified message of “you can do anything you set your mind to” (even survive alligators and a hurricane), but at least its enough to give the actors some dramatic weight against the otherwise CG-heavy action. The visual effects are well above par, and the flick also delivers a satisfying kill quota.

Crawl promises a tense and scary thrill ride, and then it over-delivers on that promise with tongue firmly in cheek. It’s probably safe to say it’s the best alligator/hurricane movie you’ll ever see.