Summer just got started, but the new horror movie Crawl, out July 12, is already here to remind you of the season’s many potential terrors. Hurricanes, drowning, Florida, flooding, and of course, alligators, are all involved — in this case, giant ones unleashed during the aforementioned natural disasters. Between the all too real problems of climate change and the innate fear of what might lurk beneath any watery surface, just how scary is Crawl? If you’re not a fan of natural wrath in any form, probably best to sit this one out.
It seems almost disrespectful to have something quite real and extremely deadly, like a Category 5 hurricane, act as backdrop and excuse for something ludicrous as a giant alligator stalking the "crawlspace" of the Keller family home. The total number of fatal alligator attacks in Florida, ever, totals 17, while the death toll of hurricane Katrina alone is over 1,800, per CNN. Regardless, the terror begins when Haley (Kaya Scodelario) disobeys the statewide evacuation orders to check in on her dad, only to find and join him, in becoming trapped in the house by an animal attack and inclement weather.
The film seems to hinge on plenty of hair-raising near misses as Haley hops from kitchen surface to surface dodging the alligator’s jaws. And while a recent study shows that it’s crocodiles who have the strongest reptilian bite, at 3,700 psi (pounds per square inch), per National Geographic, alligators are no slouches, coming in third out of the entire animal kingdom at 2,125 psi, according to Science Focus. Alligators haven’t had to evolve much from their original ancestors as there’s little to improve on, another Nat Geo piece details — they’re perfect aquatic killing machines, though as mentioned, their prey didn’t include humans until their natural habitat was encroached upon.
Crawl has at least a few humans getting chomped, as the trailer shows, including a rescue team who offers hope for Haley as the storm waters begin to surge and flood their home. So if you’re squeamish or paranoid about reptilian assault, this absolutely is not the film for you. There’s bound to be gore, and if the film decides to go with any kind of scientific accuracy, there’ll be the infamous death roll — alligators can’t chew, so to break up prey they literally whip around to rip off chunks… like limbs, for example.
Aside from mega-predators, there’s also all the dangers of nature to contend with: flying debris, floodwaters, lack of power, and drowning. Haley has to figure out not only how to get her and her father to safety, but where exactly safe is when you’re in the middle of a storm system so immense the governor of your state warns they "won’t be able to help you" once it hits. Anyone with trauma or concern about the ongoing effects of climate change, a fear of drowning, or just a very healthy terror of nature’s destructive capabilities would also do well to stay back.
And most importantly, there is a dog in that trailer. Given that the director of this film is Alexandre Aja, the same man who let the dog die in The Hills Have Eyes, there’s no reason to assume that adorable little fellow is safe from the horde of killer gators.
Presuming you’re in a well-landlocked state nowhere near a major river or part of a flood plain, Crawl could be a fun fantasy of man vs. nature vs. much more proactive form of nature. For the rest of us, especially those in the Sunshine State, Crawl might offer chills a little to close to the bone.
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