Crawl or Die – A nightmare of claustorphobic terror
Written and directed by: Oklahoma Ward
Starring: Nicole Alonso, Torey Byrne, Tommy Ball, and Wil Crown
A group of elite soldiers are tasked with a mission to protect the last fertile woman on Earth. When they come across a monstrous creature, that kills much of their team, they are forced underground into a seemingly endless maze of tunnels. Between the relentless pursuit of the creauture and the increasingly tight passage ways, survival begins to look impossible.
So, before I get into this review, I should point out that I have a small issue with claustrophobia. Not to the point where I can’t get on an elevator, but I certainly would never go cave diving or into an abandoned mine or anything like that. As such, movies that play on that fear have always been particularly effective in scaring me half to death. There are a long line of films that have done it well, from “Alien” to “The Descent”, all using the “The protagonist is stuck in a small space and something terrifying is chasing them” angle.
Add “Crawl or Die” to that list! From beginning to end this film relentlessly keeps increasing the intense and yes claustrophobic feeling of terror in it’s audience. I credit this not only to good direction from first time feature director Oklahoma Ward, but also great acting from the film’s star Nicole Alonso. Since a film like this demands that there is very little dialogue for the actors to work with, Alonso has to make the most of facial expressions and reacting to her surroundings. She does this so well that it brings the already nerve wracking situation to another level.
At the beginning of the movie, you are dropped right into the team running through a heavily wooded area, shouting and firing their weapons at an unseen beast who is making some gnarly sounds. With that kind of start, I expected a lull, but there never really was one. I swear the tension is so constant and at such a high level that when the movie was over my hands were sore from clenching them the whole time. There were multiple scenes where I would realize that I was watching with my hand over my mouth. I… LOVE THAT! That my friends is what should happen when you watch a horror/thriller. The action is great! The creature is great (and a pretty neat homage to Alien)! The star is great (and nice to look at especially when she “Has” to use her pants for other reasons and ends up in her underwear for the remainder of the film ((another thing some people have pointed out as a flaw but I am not complaining)))! This is just a well done, exciting, intense horror film.
Now again, this movie really got to me in large part because if I was in the situation the characters here were in I would wet myself and assume the fetal position. If you are not someone who minds being stuck in really (and I mean REALLY) tight areas this movie may not be much fun for you. I myself enjoyed the hell out of it. The fact that Ward and team were able to accomplish a film of this quality on the micro budget they had to work with is nothing short of awe inspiring.