Tag Archives: Alexandre Aja

Crawl (2019) Movie Review By The Moviie Couple

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Director: Alexandre Aja
Writers: Michael Rasmussen, Shawn Rasmussen
Stars: Kaya Scodelario, Barry Pepper, Morfydd Clark

Moviie Couple here! We just saw Crawl this weekend!!  Remember we are just a married couple that loves movies!  We’re here to tell you if we liked it.  Film experts we are not!  Just a quick reminder of our rating system.   Mrs. Moviie Couple and I, rate films on whether they are worth the cash spent on a night out.  we use a 1-6 Dollar Bill system.  1-2 Bills equal a waste of both our time and money!  3-4 Bills equal Meh to Pretty Good, money well spent!  5-6 Bills equal Wow!  Well worth the price of dinner, movie and sitter!  Please take our money again!

Crawl tells the tale of Haley Keller, (I believe that was her surname even IMBD doesn’t list it) a competitive collegiate swimmer, who returns to her old family home in search of her father, Dave.  Dad, has not been answering his phone and with a category 5 hurricane about to hit the old homestead, Haley is the closest relative to go check on daddy.  Ignoring all warnings from state and local authorities, Haley heads into the storm only to become trapped with dear old dad in the house crawl space!  Flood waters rising quickly!  Help no longer available! And thanks to the local alligator farm flooded nearby, suddenly besieged by alligators from all around!  Will the pair survive the storm without becoming the next Captain Hook?  Will they end up in the belly of a few hungry gators?  Will they drown or be washed away when the levees break?  Will experiencing such a trauma bring this estranged family closer than ever?

Directed by Alexandre Aja of High Tension, Horns and ‪The Hills have Eyes‬ remake fame and starring Kaya Scodelario, from ‪the Maze Runner‬ series and Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales, as Haley our Apex Predator swimmer and Barry Pepper, also of Maze Runner fame(?) and True Grit as dear ole dad.  This film is basically a two actor show, if you don’t count our reptilian adversaries. A few extended cameos are featured as well, but Haley and Dave vs an angry Mother Nature and some hungry Gators are pretty much what we get here guys.  Is it enough? Are we scared out of our alligator boots? Will we ever be able to drive into a category 5 hurricane and repair our crawl spaces ever again after watching this film? Let’s hop on our airboats, grab some waders and galoshes and let’s find out!
So here we go!

Mr. Moviie Couple:  Crawl had me excited to see it in many ways.  I am a big fan of Jaws and I love giant animal creature features in general.  Sadly, Crawl was less Bruce the Shark and more Wally Gator, if you’re old enough to get that reference.  This is no fault of the actors as I found Kaya Scodelario and Barry Pepper excellent in their respective roles.  They do a lot with what little they are given.  Especially Ms. Scodelario.  From the very beginning, she demonstrates all the emotions of Haley with very little effort.  Her feelings about her swimming career and how she feels about her family are seen all over her face.  Great job, I hope she gets more work in the future.  Pepper is far better than this material and is great as always.

The film is fast moving.  It is probably no more than 12-15 minutes into the film and we are knee deep in aggressive alligators!  They set up the action very quickly and without wasting much time at all.  Despite, the action happening so fast the writers still manage to give us a human story.  You learn quite quickly all the important dynamics and history of this family without it feeling like exposition. My problem with the film is I’m not sure it went far enough.  It is billed as a gruesome horror throwback, but it plays things kind of safe.  We never spoil here at Moviie Couple, so I won’t talk about the details, but suffice to say the film could have been a lot more horrifying had the director or the studio wanted to go that route. Crawl seems to settle for jump scares over and over again and after a while you kind of lose that fear for the characters. The gators were well executed in their creation and presentation, but again after a while they all blended together and became generic threats.  Nothing nightmarish, to truly fear.  Early on one gator gets wounded in the eye and I felt this would give one gator a way to stand out from the rest.  Perhaps this would be the one relentless gator that would not be stopped, but we never see any characteristic like that applied to any of the creatures.

One of the reasons the shark in Jaws is so memorable, is the film boils down to this relentless monster of a shark stalking our heroes. The setup of Crawl was a good one and as the water rises, if they escaped or dispatched a few lesser gators, the big one could have been this type of adversary, unfortunately, none of the gators are ever given this spotlight.  Maybe the filmmakers were going for realism over Hollywood here, but well it is a Hollywood movie, and it’s more than ok to give us the Cinema spectacular gators rather than realistic ones.   Missed opportunity in my opinion.  Even the effects of the bites and wounds, something Aja is known for seemed toned down.  Just safe, not shocking.  Many of the kills were not shown and many characters are killed off screen or at least out of sight.  Again, disappointing in a Aja film.

Well acted, but with a concept that failed to deliver where it promised we were going, I was overall disappointed with Crawl.  I had high expectations and hoped to be scared out of my mind, but it just couldn’t deliver on its set up. One last comment, the most magical thing in this movie is the ever growing crawl space!  When Haley first enters the crawl space to look for her dad, she is on hands and knees crawling through mud and sludge, cobwebs hitting her in the face.  She can hardly lift or move around, but as the waters rise (which should shorten the space, No?) there is more and more room for running, chasing, climbing!  That crawl space is one magical area!  Might be a Wardrobe down there with a way to Hogwarts if you get past the gators.  So with all this in mind, I’m going to have to give Crawl a 3 and that is a very generous 3.  I nearly wanted to give it a 2.5, but it’s far closer to MEH than a waste of money.

Mrs. Moviie Couple:  OK, let me say that it is truly I, Mrs Moviie Couple, typing this today.  Some feedback asked why my Hubby always tells you guys what I think?  Well it’s simple, I am a very busy working woman and I just don’t have the time to write/type this stuff up.  Hubby and I love to watch films together and go out, but I usually give him my notes on a movie or we simply talk about it together, but I put HIM to work on the actual writing!  So if I don’t do this every review, now you have an idea of how things run here at Moviie Couple!

I found Crawl to be very suspenseful!  At times it was so much that I found the muscles of my neck tightening in expectation of the next feeding frenzy! Both lead actors were good. They both held my attention. The special effects were all over the place.  Sometimes they are excellent and sometimes not so much.

I found the father and daughter characters just too perfect (Hubby called them examples of a Mary Sue, he tells me you readers will understand) They were experts in everything from First Aid to Gator wrangling, Please!  They were better than the Gator Boys on cable.

And the ending!  No spoiling, but it just ends!  It reminded me of one of my kids video games rather than a movie.  Run, jump, fight, swim get to certain section and …Game Over you win!  What?!  It was horrible!  It was as if the producers ran out of money!  Ok, that’s it, the movie is over.  No more filming money! How about a little closure?  Wrap it up people, is that too much to ask?

I would not recommend going out to see this film, wait for it to be on cable.  It will make for a great scary, but family friendly film for a sleepover or the like.  A few inappropriate words but nothing very offensive.

In conclusion, I have to give Crawl 2 Bills, pretty much a waste of my time and money, but still not the worst film I’ve seen this summer.  I’d rather watch Crawl a million times in a row than ever watch MIB: International even once more, so there is that.

On the way home, We talked about the alligators and whether or not crawl spaces or basements are even available in Florida.  Also, during a hurricane of that magnitude would even a chance of rescue be available?  Things like could an alligator get stuck behind a glass shower partition?  But overall how the movie was just OK.  We may watch Jaws or even ‪Jaws 2‬ on TV this summer for a better creature feature!  Thanks to my 3 and the Mrs. 2 Bills, Crawl ends up with an average of 2.5 Bills!  That’s too bad, because it could have been great!

So until next time, remember if you see a gator heading your way, Choot ‘Em, Choot ‘Em like Landry says on Swamp People or just run, they are really not that fast.  Be sure to check out our Twitter or Facebook for a clue to our next movie review.  Mr. & Mrs. Moviie Couple out!

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Horns (2013) Movie Retro Review by Darrin Gauthier

HORNS

Director: Alexandre Aja
Writers: Keith Bunin (screenplay), Joe Hill (based on the novel by)
Stars: Daniel Radcliffe, Juno Temple, Max Minghella

Plot: In the aftermath of his girlfriend’s mysterious death, a young man awakens to find strange horns sprouting from his temples.
Running Time: 2 hours
Rotten Tomatoes: Critics 41% Audience 49%

Why I watched it: It’s a horror film and Alexandre Aja is a solid genre director.

Random Thoughts: This is based on the book of the same title by Joe Hill and just in case you didn’t know he’s the son of Stephen King, you might have heard of him. I kind of waited to watch this cause I wasn’t sold on the plot and also I must say the running time of 2 hours scares me for a genre film and I’ll let you in on a little secret I’m not a huge Daniel Radcliffe fan, he’s fine but he doesn’t blow me away and this film seemed to be marketed as hey look Harry Potter has horns growing out of his head, isn’t that weird.

What I liked: The cast is very good and pretty much everyone is good here, I will say I didn’t buy Radcliffe at first but he’s very good here as the film goes along he gets better and better, he does carry this film and this weird premise. I also liked Joe Anderson, he’s such an underrated actor and he’s done some good genre work here he’s a supporting character but he gets an arc and he’s very good. Also nice to see David Morse and I liked that he isn’t a stock character, he’s the grieving father but he’s a person not a cliche.

The horns didn’t work for me but the gift of having people tell you the truth and to have power is a cool horror device and the film milks it for all it’s worth. At the core the film is a murder mystery, people think Radcliffe killed his girlfriend and he’s trying to find out who did. Since we’re with him the whole time the mystery isn’t did he do it but who did. Now Radcliffe does the horror stuff and the weird very well, he picks up on his new powers and goes with it.

Now I think the most interesting part of the plot is for a person who is going through this terrible thing to actually find out what the people in their life thinks of them, to be able to know what people are thinking and what they honestly believe. There’s a good scene with James Remar who plays Radcliffe’s father he tells him he believes in him and all that then he tells them the truth and it’s brutal and this really works, we see what the truth does to Radcliffe. Knowing is hard.

The story is trying to find out the truth and what a person has to go through to get at the truth. There’s the one level of what committed the murder and then there’s who are these people I’m with, my family, friends, people I deal with, what do they think of me and what are they really like.

What I didn’t like: This film is a very mixed bag cause some stuff is very good but others man it just seems at odds. The big thing that will bother people is the Horns, it’s the title of the movie and it’s the main plot, how did he get the horns and why. We never find out just to let you know, it’s not a spoiler cause they don’t address it at all. Sure they’re Devil horns and he also by the third act he has snakes that travel with him but why? He’s solving a murder it would make sense if he was the killer and the horns represent evil but like I said they never play with him being the killer. The throw religion in here, and there seems to be a cross that represents goodness but it doesn’t click at all. I was left confused because the movie treats the horns and he’s new power has a plot device, and it works but it feels at conflict with the main story.

Also the human element here is mixed as well, look the main character lost his one true love, he’s looked at as the killer, so he should be dealing with grieve and guilt but the films fails to really show us who the girlfriend was as a person, Juno Temple plays her and she’s fine but she’s not fleshed out at all, she’s the girl friend the price he won. We get flashbacks but we never see what it is about him she loves.

The other element that didn’t work for me was the character played by Max Minghella, it’s the only not great performance in the film, he’s miscast and the character is badly written. He’s a childhood friend and also Radcliffe’s lawyer, the scenes with him are clunky as hell and I don’t by him as a lawyer or a good friend.

The ending is really over the top and I won’t spoil it but if you’ve seen any other movie in your life you’ll figure out who the killer is and yes they use the talking killer cliche to flesh out why they did it. The finale doesn’t work for me and it’s a letdown.

Final Thoughts: The film is a mixed bag and I have strong mixed feelings cause there’s parts I really like and it’s a watchable movie even at 2 hours, the only way to describe it would be to compare it to doing a 1000 piece puzzle and you get almost finished and there was 3 pieces missing, you know the puzzle and you had fun putting it together but at the end it’s not finished and feels incomplete and empty. With that, It’s worth a watch if you’re a genre fan.

Rating: 6/10