Crawl DVD Review
Written by Joel Harley
DVD released by Arrow Films
Written and directed by Paul China
2011, Region 2 (PAL), 80 minutes, Rated 18 (UK)
DVD released on 25th February 2013
Andy Barclay as Travis
Paul Bryant as Sergeant Byrd
Lauren Dillon as Holly
Georgina Haig as Marilyn Burns
George Shevtsov as The Stranger
William Garvey as Gus Summers
Preparing for a big night in with her boyfriend, Marilyn gets a little more than she bargained for when a cocaine-snorting old hitman comes knocking at the door. What she had hoped would be a romantic night of marriage proposals and reunion sex turns into a terrifying battle for survival. Poor Marilyn winds up tied to a chair for most of the night, and not even in a fun, kinky kind of way.
Crawl might be the title, but the movie's pace does anything but. It's minimalist with its plot and cast, but everyone and everything pulls their weight. The main attraction is George Shevtsov as the Croatian, a scrawny, wrinkly old hitman with a cocaine addiction and great taste in cowboy hats. In a film that seems very influenced by the work of the Coen brothers, the Croatian is the most obvious riff. Quietly menacing with a cowboy chic about him, he is very reminiscent of Chigurh from No Country for Old Men. He'd be a great villain, but Crawl doesn't quite have the same sense of purpose or unrelenting tension. It does have Shevtsov in an awesome hat though. There's not many villains can pull off a cowboy hat, let alone those old enough to claim a free bus pass.
Maybe the Croatian should have taken the state up on that bus pass - because driving isn't his strongest suit. While fiddling with a bag of cocaine, he manages to run over Marilyn's unlucky boyfriend. His car covered in bits of boyfriend, he seeks refuge in a nearby home – Marilyn's. Not only has she left the cake on the back seat of her friend's car, but Marilyn is now the mad, incompetent hitman's hostage. Her last hope might just be her sleazy boss, if he can find time in his busy schedule of playing S&M games with his employees and standing on cakes (spoiler: the cake dies). Well what do you expect when you go around leaving cakes in cars and on doorsteps? It's the Richard Harris incident all over again.
With Marilyn tied up and gagged for a good deal of the film, it's a good job that Georgina Haig is blessed with a very expressive pair of doe-eyes. It's the Zooey Deschanel school of actressing, her eyes doing most of the acting while her mouth is otherwise engaged (chewing on an old towel). Writer and director Paul China's influences are further revealed in that Haig's character name is Marilyn Burns, her namesake of Texas Chain Saw Massacre fame. With its many influences and references, Crawl is left feeling unoriginal and indebted to better films. Referencing the link to No Country for Old Men on the DVD cover does it no favours either, making it look inferior by comparison.
Crawl is tense, gripping and well-made, but it does feel as though it's missing something. Some more plot, perhaps. It has a great villain and an adorable lead actress, but fails to do much beyond the obvious with either of them. Of all the characters and in spite of the best intentions, it was the plight of the cake that I was most emotionally invested in.
Video and Audio:
Looks clean and sharp. Sounds good too.
The disc offers interviews with the cast and director. The cake is, sadly, absent.