Released without much fanfare today by Paramount Pictures, the creature feature “Crawl” is drawing some quite strong notices from critics. With 23 reviews counted so far, the film stands at 91% (7.38/10) on Rotten Tomatoes with most praising the contained horror thriller, though on Metacritic it’s a less inspiring 52/100 but that’s only from 7 reviews.
In the film, a massive hurricane hits the Florida hometown of a young woman named Haley (Kaya Scodelario). She ignores evacuation orders to search for her missing father (Barry Pepper), only to find him gravely injured in the crawl space of their family home.
Trouble is he’s not alone down there, alligators from the storm have washed in under the house and now they’re trapped as the water level is rising, the weather worsens and the crocs become more territorial.
Helmed by “Piranha 3D,” “The Hills Have Eyes” and “High Tension” helmer Alexandre Aja, the R-rated film doesn’t hold back on the blood or croc attacks in the part survival thriller/part horror feature which is well aware of its B-movie status and indulges in it without turning into overly self-aware parody. Here’s a sampling of reviews:
“Accepting the film’s own standard of plausibility, thrillseekers should appreciate the brisk pace with which scares, setbacks and possible escapes are delivered.” – John DeFore, Hollywood Reporter
“Aja understands how to trigger reactions and exit quickly, making this 85-minute-long game of endurance gripping and immensely fun at times.” – Brian Orndorf , Blu-ray.com
“The single-minded simplicity of its plotting can at times be an asset rather than a hindrance; in a summer even more bogged down by needless sequels and remakes than most, Crawl is, at the very least, a lean thriller that isn’t based on an existing property.” – Michael Nordine, The Wrap
“Crawl is a fast paced, no frills creature feature that brings relentless intensity. This is precisely the type of movie we expect to see at the summer box office.” – Meagan Navarro, Consequence of Sound
“The entertainment value in a straight-up genre picture like this is how fraught each new corner of peril that they turn manages to be. And there’s plenty of that. And damned if Aja and his cast find some actual emotion in all this, too.” – Roger Moore, Movie Nation
“Crawl is not just a fantastic, crowd-pleasing, popcorn-spilling scary movie. If you look at it the right way it’s genuinely inspiring.” – William Bibbiani, Bloody Disgusting
“When it’s really working – which is only about half the time – “Crawl” is an efficient and clever environmental adventure picture, set in a nice old house where suddenly nothing is safe.” – Noel Murray, Los Angeles Times
“It’s a film that plays a tight game, thrilling its audience with a quick and nasty electric shock of danger, and it does so without pulling any punches.” – Mike Reyes, CinemaBlend
“With lashings of blood-drenched mayhem, ridiculous set pieces, and nail-biting suspense, ‘Crawl’ knows exactly what it is and offers precisely what you paid for.” – Doug Jamieson, The Jam Report
“Crawl” opens in theatres everywhere today.