Jul 12, 2019

Formulaic thriller perfect for July-August low expectations.


Grade: B-

Director: Alexandre Aja (The Hills Have Eyes, High Tension))

Screenplay: Michael Rasmussen (The Inhabitants), Shawn Rasmussen (The Ward)

Cast: Kaya Scodelario (The Maze Runner), Barry Pepper (True Grit)

Rating: R

Runtime: 1 hr 27 min

By: John DeSando

“Alligators all around.” Haley (Kaya Scodelario)

Although you may expect at least one grindhouse experience per summer, you’ll usually get more than that. Start this summer with Crawl, a thriller that pretends to be nothing more than a low-merit, low-budget horror show about a young woman fighting off hungry alligators in her flooded Florida home during a hurricane.

It’s plain old fun because all you should ask for is a few scares, mediocre graphics (the alligators are not always convincing), and a pleasantly humane tale of a father and daughter bonding over monsters. Praise French director Alexandre Aja for providing gallons of suspense and surprise without stretching credulity too far.

In fact, a remarkable verité is present, whereby you might actually feel as if you’re swimming furiously among the reptiles. Kaya gives a taut performance about a strong young woman who happens to be a good swimmer and loving, if neglected daughter. Barry Pepper as her dad, Dave, is convincing about losing himself, parts of himself anyway, to the bad-boy demons of the not so deep.

What do film critic buddies like Wayne Miller and John DeSando do on holiday? We hoot and howl at the noon showing of a cheesy thriller, happy that we can enjoy without filters the waning summer and along with it the quality of movies. Watch for us at 47 Meters Down: Uncaged. We’ll have no cages on bad taste.

John DeSando, a Los Angeles Press Club first-place winner for National Entertainment Journalism, hosts WCBE’s It’s Movie Time and co-hosts Cinema Classics. Contact him at