How do you escape from the crawl space under a Florida house during a hurricane after the discovery of a series of very large alligators have headed to the same space?
With only eighty-seven minutes running time this film spends most of its time in action scenes as Haley (Kaya Scodelario) and her father Dave (Barry Pepper) crawl, swim and slide in the mud and structure under dad’s house attempting to get away from what is initially two very large special effect alligators.
Haley is a swimming talent who was taught by her father. As the film opens she is in a competition in a nice clean safe athletic pool with other young women who are also up to the challenge. The film quickly changes atmosphere after the event when she cannot raise her father on his cell phone. Haley is concerned about dad who is estranged from his wife and Haley’s sister and is in the path of the hurricane headed into Florida.
Little time is wasted outside of the crawl space but Director, Alexandre Aja takes time for a discussion between father and daughter about why the family has split up. That takes place in the crawl space as the water level rises and the initial two very large reptiles attempt to have the two humans for lunch. Halley and Dave find safety behind some of the plumbing that feeds the house. Haley heads for the crawl space when she arrives at dad’s home when she has searched all of the upper floors of the house and cannot find him. With the use of little imagination it is no surprise the he is in the crawl space which he is sharing with at least one of the very powerful swift alligators.
That sets the atmosphere and location for most of the film. Two people in a crawl space that is filling up with water from the storm and two rather effective looking and smooth moving computerized alligators. The film is a battle to avoid being eaten by the alligators and get out of the space before the water level becomes too deep and they drown.
In a little nod to humor, the ending credits run with the sound track playing the song: “See You Later Alligator.”
The various situations the characters find themselves in are at time creative and the audience can’t help but hope the two are capable of out-smarting the hungry reptiles. This easy summer film which at one time would have been an outdoor B movie event, has little depth but it is what it is.