For most of its 87 minute runtime, “Crawl” manages to be a solid, slick creature feature that knows what it is and does it well. It probably has more in common with “Lake Placid” or “Anaconda” rather than “Jaws,” but it's entertaining nevertheless.
It stars Kaya Scodelario as an aspiring swimmer at the University of Florida who is trying to patch up the relationship she has with her divorced father (Barry Pepper).
The area of Florida that they live in gets attacked by a deadly hurricane and she tries to rush to his aid. Once she arrives, she finds the house slowly going underwater and her dad is unconscious and injured.
They also have other visitors in their midst in the form of two massive alligators (or crocodiles?) that are hell-bent on making them their dinner during the hurricane.
This is not a subtle film. We know each time when an alligator is going to peek out and attack the father and daughter and we know that they become surprisingly resourceful for the convenience of the plot. Still, it does have some inventive moments on how the two attempt to outsmart the gators and nearly all of them work.
“Crawl” combines atmosphere and suspense in a clever way instead of being dumb and loud. It would've been a bore if was just standard cat-and-mouse sequences, but the movie does actually take some time to develop the characters even though it wasn't always necessary.
I can't pretend it's a great movie because movies like this don't pretend to aspire for greatness. However, it will bring back fond memories of other creature movies such as “Anaconda” or “Deep Blue Sea.” Just substitute a snake or a shark with an alligator.
“Crawl” manages to work its way in the tradition of B movies. It does exactly what it's made to do. No more, no less.
(Rated R for bloody creature violence and brief language.)