The countdown to Frightfest 2019 is ON, with less than a month to go until the UK’s biggest and best horror festival takes over Leicester Square. In the weeks leading up to the festival, our intrepid reporter Joey Keogh will be taking a look at some of the most anticipated movies on this year’s jam-packed schedule. For the first edition, it could only be Alexandre Aja’s Crawl.
There’s nothing I love more than a good slasher, but the humble creature feature — so often done wrong but, in the case of Deep Blue Sea, Lake Placid, and, more recently, The Shallows, complete genius when handled correctly — comes in a close second. When the trailer for Crawl dropped earlier this year, it quite honestly took a lot to hold me back from heading to the cinema straight away to wait for it. I was that excited.
The alligator-themed horror movie, from the wildly underrated Alexandre Aja (the terrific Hills Have Eyes remake, Horns) and produced by Sam effing Raimi himself, boasts a kick-ass heroine in the form of Skins alum Kaya Scodelario. It’s also set in Florida, gator capital of the world, and takes place during a hurricane so ticks all the boxes. On paper, it’s a bit like sharks-in-a-supermarket movie Bait only, er, less dumb.
Creature features are tough because we tend to get really excited for them and then immediately have our hopes dashed once they actually materialize. Learning that Crawl‘s scaly antagonists were created using only CGI does give me pause (nothing beats the tactility of Deep Blue Sea and Lake Placid‘s practically-built underwater beasties) but otherwise this seems like a fairly safe bet all round.
The (incredibly enthusiastic!) full synopsis for the flick, via Frightfest, is as follows:
Alligators are the new sharks! Two horror legends combine – The Evil Dead’s Sam Raimi and Switchblade Romance’s Alexandre Aja – for biting suspense and gory thrills. When a massive hurricane hits her Florida hometown, competitive swimmer Haley ignores evacuation orders to search for her missing father. Finding him gravely injured in the crawl space of their family home, the two become trapped by quickly encroaching flood waters. As time runs out to escape the strengthening storm, both discover the rising waters are the least of their fears – the local alligator farm has been destroyed and its inhabitants are on the loose!
Reviews have been mostly positive thus far, with Slate‘s Keith Phipps proclaiming it “would look pretty good in just about any season,” while, at Vanity Fair, Laura Bradley noted, “Its sensibilities are schlocky, but its execution is immaculate, thanks to precise pacing, a deft command of tension, and cinematography that showcases the carnage from every possible angle.” Our own Michele Eggen called it “exactly the summer movie we need.”
Check out the trailer for Crawl below, and sound off in the comments about whether you think this is going to be a creature feature for the ages or just another pretender to the sea-borne throne. Stay tuned to the site for all the must-know Frightfest 2019 reviews and interviews from the festival.
Crawl plays second at Frightfest 2019 at 8.35/9.00 PM on Thursday, 22 August 2019 on the Main Screens. The full festival line-up of films is available on their official site, where all ticketing information can also be found. Wicked Horror will once again be there to bring you all the must-read reviews and exclusive interviews from this year’s festival. So stay tuned.