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New to Me is a series here at The Nerds Templar where we discuss a film that has been out for a while. It’s most likely available on home video or streaming services, but it’s our first time seeing it. Hence, it’s “New to Me“!

For some reason 2019 saw a slew of movies I was interested in seeing not screen for press members in Boston. A lot of them were genre movies like Brightburn, the Child’s Play remake, Captive State and even Rambo: Last Blood. Included in that list is Crawl which had a lot of positives going into it that made me want to see it.

First of all it’s a creature feature and I have a soft spot for those. Sure creature features have been beaten to death with mostly bad shark movies you see on SyFy, but this film is directed by Alexandre Aja who’s already made some solid thrillers. It’s written by Michael and Shawn Rasmussen whose previous horror work I’ve enjoyed as well. It’s even produced by horror god Sam Raimi. I also knew a couple of people who saw it at the theater and enjoyed it so it was definitely a film on my radar.

I finally got to watch it last night and it’s a ton of fun. It doesn’t reinvent the genre, but it’s nice seeing a creature feature that isn’t sharks. This time around it’s alligators because the film takes place in Florida. Kaya Scodelario plays a college swimmer who drives through a hurricane to make sure her dad (played by the underrated Barry Pepper) is alright because he’s not answering his phone. When he’s not at his new apartment, she checks the old family home where she finds him hurt in the basement. As she struggles to help him, the basement starts flooding and she realizes there are alligators there. Her father had been attacked by one and now they must try to escape the flooding house before they get killed.

Kaya Scodelario (probably best known for the Mazerunner flicks) makes for a solid “Final Girl”. She’s easy to root for because she’s simply there to save her dad and their dog. I mentioned that she’s a college swimmer because it opens with her in a race and obviously that’s letting you know her swimming skill set will come into play during the movie. It’s also about a hurricane flooding a house so you could guess swimming would be involved in the first place. There are a few other characters that pop up like a cop and some thieves, but the film is basically Scodelario and Pepper fighting the gators and water. It’s that simplicity that makes the film work. Man vs. Nature doesn’t need to be complicated. A lot of people have a fear of drowning. A lot of people have a fear of wild animals. Combine the two and let those fears work as your drama.

Even though I’m someone who grew up on and still prefers practical effects, I didn’t mind the CG effects here. You obviously can’t have multiple real alligators swimming through a house attacking people so I can live with the fake ones. Some of the flooding water looked overly fake, but most viewers are used to it at this point. There are a couple of great kills by the gators that I enjoyed and I thought the boat crashing in the house was pretty cool as well.

Crawl is a pretty fun flick with a good performance from Scodelario. Heck it was one of Quentin Tarantino’s favorites of 2019. Looking it up on IMDB it even has some cool Easter eggs. The characters’ last name is Keller which is German for basement where most of the movie takes place. Not sure if it was intentional or not, but that’s a fun fact. The license plate on Barry Pepper’s truck is MATT 725. Matthew 7:25 in the Bible reads “The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house; yet it did not fall, because it had its foundation on the rock.” Now that has to be intentional. I knew the film had some positives going into it and those positives paid off. I quite enjoyed it and if you are a fan of creature features as well then the movie is…

RECOMMENDED!

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