Movie review by
Jeffrey M. Anderson, Common Sense Media
Crawl Movie Poster Image
Popular with kidsParents recommend
Relentless, terrifying alligator movie with lots of gore.
  • R
  • 2019
  • 87 minutes

Parents say

age 13+
Based on 11 reviews

Kids say

age 13+
Based on 37 reviews

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We think this movie stands out for:

A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this movie.

Positive Messages

Persistence, perseverance, and encouragement are valued/effective; characters work together.

Positive Role Models & Representations

Haley is an excellent athlete in her daily life and shows extraordinary strength and bravery in a challenging situation. She risks her life several times to try to save her father (and their dog).


Intense blood and gore. Many alligator attacks. Characters are chomped and torn to bits, with blood swirling in the water. Bloody, gory cuts and wounds. Arm chewed off. Dead, chewed-up bodies floating in the water. A gun is fired at an alligator. Moments of terror. Gator thrashes a woman against walls. Character sets his own broken leg. Character nearly drowns. Dead animal in trap.


Mention of two characters being "caught together" when they were teens.


A few uses of "f--k," plus several uses of "s--t." Also "son of a bitch," "goddamn," and "oh my God."

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

Open bottle of whiskey on a kitchen table.

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Crawl is a "creature feature" horror/thriller about a woman (Kaya Scodelario) who's trying to rescue her father (Barry Pepper) from deadly alligators in a slowly flooding house. Expect lots of blood and gore: Characters are chewed to bits, limbs are ripped off, there are gory cuts and wounds, and you'll see dead, chewed-up bodies floating in the water. A gun is fired at an alligator, a woman is thrashed against the walls, and a character painfully sets his own broken leg. Language includes a few uses of "f--k" and "s--t," plus "son of a bitch" and "goddamn." Sex and alcohol aren't really issues. While this movie may not have much to say about the world, it's simple, compact, ingenious, and flat-out terrifying.

User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say
Adult Written bySam M. July 12, 2019

Dissapointing disaster/horror doesn't push the envelope.

Almost 1 hour of this 80 minute movie is cliched and boring. There are a couple of decent shots but the CGI crocs look terrible, the jump scares are predictable... Continue reading
Adult Written byRonnam1 November 4, 2019


Me and my om watched this film expecting a good quality thriller, but we were disappointed. The acting is OK. Literally, 70 out of the 80 minutes of the movie... Continue reading
Teen, 14 years old Written byHorrorRate July 14, 2019

Honestly Should Have Been PG-13

I walked into the movie “crawl” not expecting much, but it was actually AMAZING. I saw this with my dad and we both loved it! It was so fun and entertaining! Fi... Continue reading
Teen, 14 years old Written byrileypicard1104 July 13, 2019

intense, gory. best creature feature i’ve seen.

movie shows many thrilling scenes which usually have a gory climax. swearing not over the top and used reasonably. hailee is a great role model showing persiste... Continue reading

What's the story?

In CRAWL, Florida university student Haley (Kaya Scodelario) is just finishing up swim practice when she gets a call from her sister, Beth (Morfydd Clark). A giant hurricane is approaching, and Beth can't get ahold of their father, Dave (Barry Pepper). Haley drives toward the storm, and, after some searching, finds her father in the lower crawlspace of their old family home. He's injured, and she quickly discovers that there are two hungry alligators loose in the house. With the flood waters rising, father and daughter must try everything they can to get out of the claustrophobic space. But even if they can make it, their troubles may just be beginning.

Is it any good?

Insidiously simple, compact, and clever, this killer alligator movie, complete with slowly rising floodwaters, is relentless and absolutely terrifying. It's a career best for director Alexandre Aja. Crawl may have little to say about the world -- except perhaps a hint of the dangers of climate change -- but what it does do, it does exceptionally well. Screenwriter brothers Michael and Shawn Rasmussen spend just a little time establishing Haley's swimming skills, her tattered relationship with her father, and the scope of the storm before letting go with wallop after wallop. Their basic idea of the claustrophobic crawlspace married with the attacking monsters is the stuff of classic thrillers, and the storytelling pace is positively brilliant. Gimmicks like a slowly submerging radio and a hand-cranked flashlight add immeasurably to the scenario.

Aja, whose fun remake of Piranha was a high point in a pretty uneven career so far, ought to stick to movies about water-based predators. His work here is so fluid that it's almost elegant. He even manages to avoid dumb jump scares -- the first alligator appearance on-screen is a masterful moment -- and uses the compact space with lucid clarity. He expertly ramps up the tightly coiled tension, revealing one surprise and shock and solution after another; even the rest breaks aren't entirely restful. Those alligators could be lurking anywhere, just below the surface of the rising water. In the end, Crawl feels like a white-knuckle roller coaster ride, and while viewers may leave smiling, they may also feel totally wiped out.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about Crawl's violence. How much is shown, and how much is suggested? How did it affect you?

  • Is the movie scary? What's the appeal of horror movies?

  • Is Haley a role model? Why or why not? How does she demonstrate perseverance?

  • What's the father-daughter relationship like in this movie? How does it compare to your own relationships?

  • What does the movie have to say (if anything) about the climate crisis?

Movie details

Our editors recommend

For kids who love thrills

Character Strengths

Find more movies that help kids build character.

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