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Crawl

Since ‘Jaws’ stormed the cinema box office in 1975 dozens of imitators have surfaced. The ‘natural beast on the loose’ formula since has spawned its own genre. There are too many to mention with ‘Crawl’ the latest variant in an ever-expanding movie world. No less tense or implausible, ‘Crawl’ offers ghoulishly fun thrills proving that in films, it’s never safe to go into the water.

Haley (Kaya Scodelario) is an expert swimmer studying at a university in Florida. Estranged from her father Dave (Barry Pepper), she nevertheless checks in on him when a massive storm breaks. Discovering him in peril at home, Haley uses her skills to save him. She doesn’t count on Mother Nature’s relentless fury as well as a group of angry alligators ready to strike.

Alexandre Aja directs ‘Crawl’ with tongue very firmly in cheek. That’s just as well as it’s occasionally difficult to believe the dilemmas the characters face. It’s part of the charm of these films as you go along for the ride in wondering how they’ll survive the oncoming onslaught. If you can overcome the huge leaps of logic, ‘Crawl’ becomes a solid time-waster with decent scares and people to care for.

In what is essentially a two person cast, Scoderlario and Pepper give strong performances. Their roles conjure genuine believability with both giving it their all in what must have been a strenuous shoot. The CGI alligators and scenery are amazingly rendered and help move the brisk plot towards a tension packed finale.

‘Crawl’ may be derivative of ‘Jaws’ in places, including lifting some of its dialogue, but its stream-lined escapism is welcome. Filled with drama, thrills and a dash of ridiculousness, it’s a swift human vs nature battle. It may put you off going into the water like ‘Jaws’ with cinema’s fierce aquatic creatures always difficult to eradicate.

Rating out of 10: 7

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