Crawl (2019)

Alexandre Aja directs Kaya Scodelario, Barry Pepper and Morfydd Clark in this monster thriller where a swimmer and her daddy are trapped in a flooding basement during a hurricane where some hungry alligators have decided to nest.

This is it, Jaws for a new generation. The perfect Saturday night triple bill middle flick to marry Alligator with Hard Rain. The big Barry Pepper comeback. My friend Martin Croser suggested I do a podcast called “Barry Pepper Is Great In Everything!” He certainly is hardcore here, taking on gargantuan snappers with bricks and his bare fists, coming back from the grizzled chewed up dead 88 times. The film is a tight 87 minutes long. Squeezed hard, pleasingly economic. Even ends on the old John Landis punchline of a lyrically on-point yet incongruously upbeat credit song. Does our Barry Pepper make it all the way to that throwback B-Movie punctuation point? I ain’t spoiling shit. He’s not even the star. The steel eyed final girl dives around, problem solving, flippering between ravenous jaws and hellish high water with convincing abandon. The kids should have turned up in droves for this old school rollercoaster. It is the best thing gore and grip master Alexandre Aja has ever done, even better than his classic debut Switchblade Romance. He’s made good remakes since (his The Hills Have Eyes is surprisingly worthwhile) but never quite redelivered that blood guzzling cocaine rush of his debut. Well now, in this slick little slice of late summer nasty, he has surpassed it. Everything I want in a movie.

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