Crawl parents guide

Crawl Parent Guide

This is near the top of my list for the big, dumb, fun movies we wait for all summer. But it does come with quite a bit of gore and stress-induced swearing.

Overall B-

A Category Five hurricane is rocking Florida, and Haley and her father Dave are stuck in the middle of it. But the flooding isn't the worst of their problems: something is swimming around in the floodwater, and it seems hungry.

Release date July 12, 2019

Violence C
Sexual Content A
Profanity D
Substance Use A

Why is Crawl rated R? The MPAA rated Crawl R for bloody creature violence, and brief language.

Run Time: 87 minutes

Parent Movie Review

As Crawl opens in theaters nationwide, Tropical Storm Barry is barreling into New Orleans. This is an uncanny coincidence, Crawl being all about a particularly horrific hurricane. The movie focuses on the experience of Haley Keller (Kaya Scodelario), who leaves a routine swim meet only to learn that a state of emergency has been declared in Florida after a Category 5 hurricane has changed directions. With her father (Barry Pepper) not answering his phone, Haley decides to evacuate him on her own. But once Haley finds him, she realizes that the hurricane isn’t their biggest problem: the storm surge flooding has allowed some massive alligators to swim into their home and getting her injured father out of the crawl space is going to be harder than she thought.

If that premise sounds a little goofy to you, it is. But that’s the joy of this movie: it has no presumptions or pretensions to be anything smarter or grander than it is. It’s essentially a survival/horror movie like Alien mashed up with a classic disaster movie. With a combination like that, the movie can’t help but be fun, fast-paced, and suspenseful. If the storm doesn’t get you, the gators will.

Titanic aside, whenever a disaster film tries to get emotionally intimate, it falls apart. The weakest part of these films is invariably the long-winded personal conversations that drag the pacing down to a crawl and leave the audience waiting impatiently for something to flood, freeze, explode, or catch fire. Crawl succeeds by having some personal conflict that the characters are forced to work through but making them smart enough to realize that the middle of a gator hurricane is not the time to start talking about how you blame yourself for your parents’ divorce.

While this isn’t a film for younger kids by any stretch, older teens who enjoy a good scare will have a blast. The profanity will be parents’ primary concern, but I must admit that if I were being chased by a 300 pound reptile during a Category 5 hurricane, I might drop a few “gosh-darn-its” myself. The violence is often terrifying, but no worse than you’d expect from this kind of movie, and less graphic than it could have been. With one exception, there are no drawn-out shots of people being messily devoured - either they get a nasty bite, or they just get dragged into the water and are never seen again.

So, while Crawl may not be in contention for this year’s Academy Award for Best Picture, it’s definitely near the top of my list for those big, dumb, fun movies you wait for all summer. Like Jaws before it, Crawl has realized that sharp-toothed, primordial beasts that swim faster than you are scary, but Crawl also discovered that it’s much scarier if they can move beyond the beach.

Directed by Alexandre Aja. Starring Kaya Scodelario, Barry Pepper, Ross Anderson. Running time: 87 minutes. Theatrical release July 12, 2019. Updated

Rating & Content Info

Why is Crawl rated R? Crawl is rated R by the MPAA for bloody creature violence, and brief language.

Violence:   Several nondescript dead animals are seen. A character is shown with a severely broken leg and three bleeding gashes in their shoulder. A person is shown sustaining a serious bite to the leg and being dragged around by that leg. A man sets a compound fracture with a belt and a wrench. An alligator bites a person’s arm. A person has their hand bitten and torn off. Another person is bitten in the shoulder. Five people are shown being killed and eaten by alligators – on of the people is decapitated. An individual stabs an alligator in the eye repeatedly with a screwdriver to fend it off.  An alligator is killed with a shovel. An alligator is shot repeatedly in the head. An alligator is burned with an emergency flare.
Sexual Content: None.
Profanity: This movie features four sexual expletives, 14 scatological expressions, some name-calling, and about half a dozen terms of deity.
Alcohol / Drug Use: None.

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Crawl Parents' Guide

Haley and her father both have a good grasp on elementary first aid - are you familiar with basic emergency medical procedure? What can you do to be more prepared for emergencies? Are you aware of the kind of emergencies that are most likely where you live?

How to create a family emergency plan

Making 72 hour kits

Making an inexpensive emergency first aid kit


Loved this movie? Try these books…

Jaws by Peter Benchley is the granddaddy of animal disaster novels. In a less violent but still suspenseful tale, a man becomes obsessed with a whale in Herman Melville’s classic novel, Moby Dick.

John Wyndham’s The Kraken Wakes is the story of aliens who land under the seas and then emerge to seize humans. As the oceans rise, mankind’s survival as at stake. In The Day of the Triffids, giant plants suddenly start stinging and killing people. With the population blinded by a strange meteor shower, human civilization starts to collapse.

Home Video

The most recent home video release of Crawl movie is October 15, 2019. Here are some details…

Related home video titles:

For the fans of spectacle action movies, Godzilla: King of the Monsters still wears the crown as the king of “implausible but awesome”. Recent entries in the disaster movie genre include San Andreas, Geostorm, and The Day After Tomorrow. Jaws, of course, is the classic for big scary animal movies, and an excellent one to watch right before heading to the beach this summer.