Friday, August 16, 2013

Movie Review: Crawl (2011)

Well holy guacamole, where did this little movie come from? Australia, yes, but also from some mad genius after my own heart, because this movie kicked all kinds of ass. It was a random Netflix watch for me because the poster (not the one up there, though) made it look like some cheesy B-movie that I could waste time on, but it only took me about five minutes to realize that that was not going to be the situation here.

So what happens? Well, a bar owner hires a hit man to murder a business associate, and an innocent waitress gets caught in the middle when the hit man shows up at her house on the way out of town.

The biggest complaint I've read about this movie is that it is "slow." While that adjective might accurately describe other movies, I don't think it's the right one for Crawl. Crawl is more "methodical," I would say, and only "slow" if it fails to hook you in right away. Anybody with any kind of movie savvy will pick up on the influence of the Coen Brothers and Hitchcock with this methodical style. Not a rip-off of their style, mind you - the influence. It's easy to say that the filmmakers just ripped off Psycho and Blood Simple, but I say that if it worked there, it's gotta work here. And boy, does it ever. Each frame and scene is painstakingly laid out with real directorial skill, and the suspense scenes will have you on that cliched edge of your seat.

The music, and sometimes lack of music, is extremely helpful in conveying that suspense. At times it is only a few carefully repeated notes, and at times it is a jarring cacophony like the screeching violins from Psycho. Mostly, though, I'd say that silence serves the movie best for key scenes. As the waitress Marilyn investigates a creaking door in her house, the lack of music gives the audience no cues as to what to expect - a real scare or a fake out? Will the bad guy show up on the other end of the banging door or somewhere else? The way the movie revealed all of its surprises was something that I really enjoyed watching.

The movie's less than exciting pace is made up for by some scenes of real brutality. The murder at the beginning is of course only the beginning, as the situation gets exponentially worse. Crawl turns out to be quite a bloody piece by the end - there's a car crash, a bludgeoning, and most deliciously, an axe put to awesome use. The makeup work is realistic and gory, but nothing over-exaggerated just for the sake of being gory. Not that I ever have a problem with that - it just wouldn't have worked for this movie.

The hit man, or "The Stranger" as he is credited, is one of the best and oddest casting choices I've ever seen. He's an old Croatian, tall and skinny, dressed like a cowboy. He's the guy you'd probably see drinking coffee by himself at a diner or something. While we're talking Coen Brothers, I guess I'd be remiss not to compare him to Javier Bardem from No Country for Old Men. The Stranger is the same expressionless, emotionless killer as Bardem (minus the cool nail gun thing, of course), and his grandfatherly appearance is almost an excellent cover for what turns out to be a wholly unpredictable and calculating demeanor.

Georgina Haig as Marilyn (whose full name we find out from the credits is Marilyn Burns... hahaha) is also perfect casting for this role. Her big doe eyes fill the screen, her innocence in this crazy situation heightened by her good-girl blonde hair and cute little dress. She isn't given much by way of character development but that didn't bother me too much here, because this felt more to me like a situational movie rather than a character-driven one.

Crawl is a movie deserving of every word of praise on its poster up there. It is a very successful slow-burn thriller that will hopefully have most movie fans salivating over the awesome that oozes out of it. Definitely keep your eyes out for this one.


  1. Wow, I've seen this movie on Netflix for a while and have avoided it for the exact same reasons you did. Guess I know what I'm watching tonight, great review!

  2. I need to re-watch this film. I only saw it once and its "slow-nes" really put me off. but now with all this rave reviews, I might reconsider...

  3. I will have to check it out...mostly because you used guacamole to set the tone ;)

  4. You must not be in the states, because netflix (c) is saying this isn't available yet (save section). Shoot.

  5. its a good story , but at the end just makes a question mark.
    make me feel a long time to watch wht happen in the next.