Crawl (on your knees, sucker)

crawlaOh no, here’s another one.

This is one of those tedious movies that pass as horror films these days, or films in general really: wildly implausible, and carrying a bit of a whiff of Marvel super-heroics about it. Which, really, is getting tiresome now. Our heroine Haley (Kaya Scodelario) gets her leg bitten by an alligator, is flung around awhile with her leg in its jaws, then kicks herself free with her other leg, and later out-swims other alligators with said injured leg, stands, runs on it etc. She gets her right arm elbow-deep in the jaws of another alligator, shoots it in the head several times to get her arm free, later uses that arm for climbing, fighting, swimming etc. She gets mauled by another alligator with its jaws on her shoulder but frees herself again and climbs the side of a building onto the roof… yeah, mauled leg, mauled arm, mauled shoulder… who is she, Captain Marvel?

Her Dad (Barry Pepper), who Haley braved a hurricane to try and find/save, is just the same. She finds him in the basement/cellar of the old family home, unconscious having been mauled by an alligator, his abdomen slashed by teeth etc but he’s okay once woken up, and fixes his smashed leg with a wrench (auditioning for a Rambo reboot, maybe). Later he actually drowns in the flooded basement but his daughter smashes through the floorboards (!) to pull him up from his watery grave and revives him with CPR. A few minutes later he gets his forearm bitten off by another alligator, grits his teeth and ties himself an handy tourniquet with his free arm to stop the bleeding, climbs onto the roof etc.

These guys spend hours in freezing water, they should be blacking out with pain, trauma, delirious with exhaustion and blood loss… This film crashes the credibility barrier so early on and smashes any bullshit radar. This kind of super-heroics is getting increasingly prevalent these days, as if ordinary characters have to compete with Marvels spandex crusaders. Its so preposterous, so utterly insane, it almost threatens to be fun, but really, all the way through I’m thinking, “I’m being mugged here”. The only saving grace this film has is that it doesn’t use the family dog as ‘gator bait.

Quentin Tarantino apparently rated this as his best film of 2019. Either he didn’t see many movies that year, or he’s taking anyone who listens to him for a ride into la-la land. Can’t say it improves his critical standing in my book. Maybe he’s just trying to be controversial or something, or relevant until he gets a Marvel gig.

My advice, watch this movie with plenty of beers. On the subject of watery horrors, can Underwater be much worse?

If you’ve got a crate of cans or box of wine handy, Crawl is currently showing on Sky Cinema here in the UK.

6 thoughts on “Crawl (on your knees, sucker)

  1. Matthew McKinnon

    You’re really taking hits for the team this week, aren’t you? Better you than me.

    I didn’t hear the Tarantino recommendation for this one. He’s such a dick.

    1. Yeah, having a bit of a grim run of it. On the upside, it just shows films like Jaws (which I so enjoyed on Monday) to be the classics they really are. I get amused by fools on forums running down films like Jaws (“that shark looks so fake!”), I just figure they get the films they deserve. There’s not one fake-looking ‘gator in Crawl- the effects and animatronics are great- but the fakest thing is the excuse of a script. And I really do think that the Marvel and DC films are causing some indirect damage to other genres with superhuman stunts etc leaking into such mainstream material. The guy gets his arm bitten off at the elbow, there’s no jetting blood, he just pulls himself away, grits his teeth, sorts out his tourniquet and off we go to the next situation. Its complete bollocks. It’d actually be fun if it were tongue-in-cheek/self-knowing like The Evil Dead was, say, but this film takes itself so seriously.

      I can imagine impressionable Yanks suggesting, yeah that could really happen, and absently discount, say, the real damage bullets can do, discounting stuff like Saving Private Ryan and taking us back to the cheerfully clean carnage of John Wayne Western movies.

  2. Watched this last night, because it’s been quite widely recommended, and while I didn’t hate it as much as you, I did get fed up by the end. I can accept a certain amount of implausibility with this kind of thing — it’s clearly aiming to be a creature-feature B-movie, so it’s hardly shooting for factual realism — but the third act went too far (particularly with the world’s strongest shower door).

    I was glad the dog didn’t get eaten… though even that is a stretch (guy turns up and shines his torch down the hatch: immediately eaten. Dog stands there barking for ages: left alone.)

    1. I had a great deal of goodwill for the film as it started, I was rather in the mood for a cheesy monster flick, but it just wore me down, it was so stupid it stopped being any fun. Pretty soon these films will be throwing people through walls and they’ll be shrugging it off and walking away, we’re losing all sense of drama and reality in film and I actually think its dangerous, showing violence without the proper consequences.

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