Director Alexandre Aja has made a name for himself with horror/thrillers like High Tension and The Hills Have Eyes. His ability to build tension and suspense in seemingly unusual situations made him a terrific choice to helm this summer's surprise hit, Crawl. What started out as a little Paramount Pictures release trying to compete for audiences' attention against major blockbusters turned into a terrific movie that garnered quite a bit of critical praise. What Jaws did for sharks in 1975, Crawl has now done for alligators and those who live near coastal waters have a new reason to fear hurricanes. Starting this week you can get this hit film on Blu-ray and Digital HD.
Hailey (Kaya Scodelario; The Maze Runner) is a swimmer on her college team at the University of Florida. She's been estranged from her father, Dave (Barry Pepper; True Grit) since her parents divorced but when he doesn't answer his phone with a strong hurricane coming she decides to check on him. She heads to his condominium ignoring coastal evacuation warnings but doesn't find him there. When she notices mail forwarded from the old family house Hailey decides to head there to see if she can find her father.
Once at the house, Hailey sees her dad's car and finds him unconscious and bleeding in the crawl space under the house. As she tries to rescue him she comes in contact with two large alligators who have been living and breeding under the house. As the floodwaters begin to rise, Hailey and her father, who has regained consciousness, realize they are in grave danger as there are alligators swarming around the house. While the hurricane drops heavy rain all around Hailey and her father must figure out a way to escape the vicious creatures before they end up as dinner.
Scodelario and Pepper are as terrific as the father/daughter team trying to outwit a group of alligators. They have a natural chemistry that makes their familial bond believable. Aja also does a masterful job of building suspense and giving the audience a sense that the danger is real. His camerawork is precise and exacting with close-ups and interesting angles that set the scene very well. The soundtrack also adds to the drama and tension as a perfect background for jump scares.
The Blu-ray combo pack includes the digital code, Blu-ray disc, and DVD. The Blu-ray has 1080p video quality with a 2.39:1 aspect ratio. The presentation is exceptional here with sharp details and rich colors (though a little murky given the mostly muted color palette). As an added bonus the Digital copy is presented in 4K, which accentuates the details in even more depth. The DTS-HD Master Audio 7.1 is only slightly weaker but still offers a crisp soundtrack and clean dialogue. The minimal extras are included on the Blu-ray and include: Intro to Alternate Opening, Alternate Opening, Deleted and Extended Scenes, Beneath Crawl, Category 5 Gators: The VFX of Crawl, and Alligator Attacks.
With suspense and drama, the story behind Crawl gives the movie a solid, realistic foundation making the concept easy to believe. Aja expertly directs the leads which offers the audience entertainment and he includes enough jump scares to appease the adrenaline junkies while not overdoing the terrifying moments.
If you live in Florida you are generally used to hurricanes and the pitfalls that come with them. You are typically also aware of the alligators that rest in lakes and canals and know to steer clear of them. With this release, you now have a new reason to fear both and while the movie isn't anything overly original or earth-shattering, it is a well-made film that is perfect to watch at home with friends on a Friday night while enjoying some pizza and beer.