Crawl (2019 film)
Crawl is a 2019 American disaster horror film directed by Alexandre Aja and written by Michael and Shawn Rasmussen. It stars Kaya Scodelario and Barry Pepper as a daughter and father, who, along with their dog, are hunted by alligators after becoming trapped in their home during a Category 5 hurricane in Florida.
Theatrical release poster
|Directed by||Alexandre Aja|
|Edited by||Elliot Greenberg|
|Distributed by||Paramount Pictures|
|Box office||$91.5 million|
The film was announced in May 2018, with Sam Raimi producing through his Raimi Productions banner, and Aja attached as director. Scodelario and Pepper joined the cast in July 2018, with other actors being added later that summer. Principal photography began in August 2018 and wrapped in September 2018.
The film was theatrically released in the United States on July 12, 2019, by Paramount Pictures. It grossed $91.5 million worldwide and received generally positive reviews, with critics praising the performance by Scodelario.
Aspiring swimmer Haley Keller (Kaya Scodelario) receives a call from her sister Beth, who informs her that Category 5 Hurricane Wendy is on its way to Florida, and advises her to get out of the state. Concerned for the safety of her estranged father, Dave (Barry Pepper), Haley goes to check on him at his condo, but finds it empty. She decides to go check at their old family home in Coral Lake, which he supposedly sold years ago. She goes against the instructions of Beth's ex-boyfriend Wayne, who is now a member of the Florida Police Department, to not go into Coral Lake, as it is flooding quickly.
At the house, with the help of the family dog, Sugar, Haley descends into the crawl space underneath the house, eventually finding her father unconscious. As she tries to drag him out, her exit is cut off by large alligators that Dave believes got into the house via a storm drain open to the crawl space. The alligators are too large to fit under the pipes in the crawl space, allowing Haley and Dave to find safety at the back of the crawl space.
As the hurricane intensifies and the house begins to flood, Haley attempts to navigate around the alligators to retrieve her phone that she dropped, but she is ambushed by two alligators, who promptly destroy the phone and injure her leg. She tries to navigate around the basement and notices three people looting a nearby gas station. She attempts to draw their attention by activating her car's alarm, but all three are devoured by alligators. Later, Wayne and his partner Pete arrive at the old house in search of Haley and her father. Wayne heads into the house to look for them while Pete is ambushed and ripped apart by a swarm of alligators after the boat's engine gets tangled by debris. Wayne locates them as they warn him of the dangers in the basement. Wayne tries to radio Pete for assistance, but he is pulled into the basement by an alligator. Haley tries to save Wayne, but the alligator drags him underwater and devours him. In a last-ditch effort to escape, Haley swims to the storm drain where she discovers that the alligators have made their nest and laid eggs, while Dave kills another alligator with a shovel.
Haley successfully kills one alligator using a gun retrieved from the body of Wayne, shooting down the alligator's throat as it nearly bites her hand off. She then swims through the storm drain and out into the flooded street, and makes it into the house to crow-bar the living room floor open, saving Dave from drowning in the basement. Outside, Haley, Dave and Sugar carefully make their way onto a boat, just as the eye of the hurricane moves over the neighborhood. The floodwaters break the nearby levees, flooding Coral Lake even more and crashing them back into the house, where they get separated.
While Dave and Sugar make their way up the stairs, Haley navigates around the kitchen and uses a discarded police radio to broadcast a distress signal to authorities. Dave is attacked by one of the alligators and loses an arm. Meanwhile, Haley manages to trap one alligator in the shower. She attempts to flag down a rescue helicopter from an upstairs bedroom but is attacked by another alligator, which attempts to drown her in a death roll. While Dave and Sugar escape to the attic, Haley stabs the alligator in the eye with a flare. She joins her dad and Sugar on the roof, narrowly avoiding being mauled by a fourth alligator before it gets swept away. Haley lights a flare and flags down the rescue helicopter as Dave watches proudly.
- Kaya Scodelario as Haley Keller, a student-athlete, Beth's sister and Dave's daughter
- Barry Pepper as Dave Keller, a home contractor and Beth and Haley's father
- Ross Anderson as Wayne Taylor, a police officer, Pete's partner and Beth's ex-boyfriend
- Jose Palma as Pete, a police officer and Wayne's partner
- Colin McFarlane as The Governor
- Morfydd Clark as Beth Keller, Haley's older sister who lives in Boston, Dave's daughter and Wayne's ex-girlfriend
On May 1, 2018, Paramount Pictures announced Alexandre Aja would direct the film with Kaya Scodelario starring. Principal photography began in August 2018 in Belgrade, Serbia, and wrapped up the following month. The visual effects were provided by Rodeo FX and supervised by Thomas Montminy Brodeur and Keith Kolder.
Scodelario found the shoot "the most physically demanding" of her career: "I was broken at the end of every day. We were shooting 16- to 18-hour days. I was on set all day, every day. I lost about 12 pounds shooting the movie, but I gained some of it in muscle, which I was quite impressed with. I broke a finger; I came home every day bruised, bloodied and cut open." She has spoken of how she "beefed up" her character as much as she could, eschewing makeup and playing most of the film in her bare feet, explaining: "I fought to have her barefoot... I didn’t want protection on my feet. As a girl who’s a swimmer, she’s going to wear flip-flops and once she has to crawl around, she’s going to kick them off."
There was a lengthy debate within the creative team about whether the dog should live or die or perhaps sacrifice itself.
Originally slated for a United States release on August 23, 2019, the film was later moved up to July 12, 2019.
Crawl grossed $39 million in the United States and Canada, and $52.5 million in other territories, for a worldwide total of $91.5 million, against a production budget of $13.5 million.
In the United States and Canada, the film was released alongside Stuber, and was projected to gross $10–13 million from 3,170 theaters in its opening weekend. The film made $4.3 million on its first day, including $1 million from Thursday night previews. It went on to debut to $12 million, finishing third at the box office. The film was not screened in advance for critics, and it was speculated by some publications the eventual positive reception would have led to a larger opening had reviews been available sooner. In its second weekend, the film made $6 million, dropping just 50%, better-than-average for a horror film.
On Rotten Tomatoes, the film holds an approval rating of 84% based on 200 reviews, with an average rating of 6.50/10. The website's critical consensus reads, "An action-packed creature feature that's fast, terrifying, and benefits greatly from a completely game Kaya Scodelario, Crawl is a fun throw-back with just enough self-awareness to work." On Metacritic, the film has a weighted average score of 60 out of 100, based on reviews from 31 critics, indicating "mixed or average reviews." Audiences polled by CinemaScore gave the film an average grade of "B" on an A+ to F scale, while those at PostTrak gave it an average 2.5 out of 5 stars and a 46% "definite recommend."
Angelica Jade Bastien of New York praised the film, saying, "Crawl is a great example of a simple story exceedingly well-told. It’s a bloody adventure full of teeth-gnawing turns of fortune, mordant wit, vicious gator kills, and surprising tenderness — that clocks in at a blessedly fleet 87 minutes. It’s a perfect horror film for the summer, as much an ode to the cataclysmic, humbling aspects of Mother Nature as it is a love letter to father-daughter relationships." Jim Vejvoda of IGN wrote, "Crawl is a fun albeit familiar human vs. beast movie, one that gets plenty of mileage out of its setting and people's deep-set fear of being eaten." He cautioned that fans of Alexandre Aja might be surprised at how mainstream Crawl is compared to his more gruesome horror films.
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