Tag Archives: Barry Pepper

Crawl (2019) Review

Time: 87 Minutes
Age Rating: 860949[1] Violence, offensive language & horror
Cast:
Kaya Scodelario as Haley Keller
Barry Pepper as Dave Keller
Director: Alexandre Aja

When a massive hurricane hits her Florida town, young Haley (Kaya Scodelario) ignores the evacuation orders to search for her missing father, Dave (Barry Pepper). After finding him gravely injured in their family home, the two of them become trapped by the rapidly encroaching floodwaters. With the storm strengthening, Haley and Dave discover an even greater threat than the rising water level — a relentless attack from a pack of gigantic alligators.

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When I first heard of Crawl I had no expectations of it whatsoever. From the brief glances I got of it, it seemed like a typical creature feature and I didn’t really look into it at all. I wouldn’t have checked it out except I was hearing is was actually pretty good, and it was indeed good, way better than I thought it would be.

Crawl is under 90 minutes long and it makes great use of that time effectively. It quickly sets up the relevant characters (which helps seeing as there’s mainly just 2), it puts them in the positions that they need to be and starts the plot off. The plot is also relatively simple, the main characters need to survive a flood and alligators, it knows what movie it is, and it greatly benefits from that. I also like how the alligators generally act like alligators, like they won’t attack unless there’s they see something, it’s not like they’re constantly hunting for the main characters all the time like a slasher villain or anything. The flaws in Crawl are just those that you’d expect from a movie like this, but there aren’t many. The plot is nothing special and doesn’t lead to much surprises, the dialogue is simple, and the character development is serviceable but nothing great. I’d make a comment about the realism (or lack thereof) if this was a movie that was aiming for realism in the first place. You’ve seen more over the top movies in the genre, but you do have to suspend your disbelief in some parts.

The main lead is Kaya Scodelario and she does quite well here, definitely working as a vulnerable but capable protagonist. Definitely would like to see her in more horrors and thrillers because she’s shown to be great in them. Barry Pepper played her father, and their dynamic is believable enough. There’s nothing to really say about the rest of the cast.

A big part of why this movie worked so well was the direction by Alexandre Aja, he did a good job at continuously raising the stakes and the tension as it progressed. So much of the movie looks practical, mainly the environments, especially the house that most of the movie takes place in. The alligators are obviously CGI but they looked pretty good, and they were ruthless and brutal adversaries for the main characters to go up against. It was actually more violent than I thought it would be, I thought it was a PG-13/M rated movie at first, but the R rating definitely helped the movie a lot. There are some jump scares for sure, but they are earned and quite effective, and not all of them were immediately predictable. The score by Max Aruj and Steffen Thum also does a good job at raising the suspense.

Crawl is nothing that great but it’s pretty good for what it is. Kaya Scodelario was a strong lead, it’s well directed, and it’s effectively suspenseful, thrilling and surprisingly brutal. Quite simply, it’s the best version of the movie it set out to be. It’s exactly the sort of movie that it looks like, and if that interests you at all, then definitely check it out.

The Maze Runner: Scorch Trials (2015) Review

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Maze Runner; The Scorch Trials

Time: 132 Minutes
Age Rating: 860940[1] Violence
Cast:
Dylan O’Brien as Thomas
Thomas Brodie-Sangster as Newt
Ki Hong Lee as Minho
Kaya Scodelario as Teresa Agnes
Rosa Salazar as Brenda
Jacob Lofland as Aris Jones
Giancarlo Esposito as Jorge
Aidan Gillen as Janson
Dexter Darden as Frypan
Alexander Flores as Winston
Barry Pepper as Vince
Lili Taylor as Mary Cooper
Patricia Clarkson as Ava Paige
Director: Wes Ball

In this next chapter of the epic “Maze Runner” saga, Thomas (Dylan O’Brien) and his fellow Gladers face their greatest challenge yet: searching for clues about the mysterious and powerful organization known as WCKD. Their journey takes them to the Scorch, a desolate landscape filled with unimaginable obstacles. Teaming up with resistance fighters, the Gladers take on WCKD’s vastly superior forces and uncover its shocking plans for them all.

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I wasn’t very impressed with 2014’s Maze Runner, I thought it was quite predictable and I didn’t really care about what was going on, although it did have some good elements, such as the action and some of the performances were good. With Scorch Trials however, the Maze Runner franchise looks to be on the improvement. It still has its problems with its characterisation and character development, as well as having a lot of plot holes but I have to give credit to the people involved for creating an improved sequel.

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Like with the first Maze Runner I didn’t really follow the story that well but I could just go with it. There are still plenty of plot holes, most of them come from the previous film’s ending, that being I’m pretty sure that WCKD (not a very subtle villainous corporation name by the way) could test children more easily by testing them in smaller rooms and not build giant mazes that would be more time and money consuming. The characterization like in the first film wasn’t that strong, I didn’t feel like I knew any of the main characters, except for Thomas but even then you don’t really learn much about him. The movie also did feel a little long at 2 hours 15 minutes, there were a few moments in the final act that they could’ve ended the film and I think that would’ve worked better. And yes, this film does have the type of ‘there’s going to be another one’ ending, like the first film’s ending, however it’s not as bad here.

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Dylan O’Brien and the rest of the cast do a good job. I felt that I didn’t emphasise enough in my review of the first film that the cast did a good job, it’s just that the characters they played weren’t that interesting. I actually started to slightly care about the characters, which was a huge improvement over the original where I didn’t care at all what happened to them. I thought that Aidan Gillen and Giancarlo Esposito were great additions to the franchise (though that’s partially because Gillen is in Game of Thrones and Esposito is in Breaking Bad). I do genuinely think they did great jobs with what they had to work with and I’m looking forward to see them in the sequel.

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The film looked quite good and had some great cinematography, especially with its action scenes. The action scenes, like in the previous film was great and again are the best part of the movie. The zombies (I don’t remember what they are called in the movie) in the first half looked practical and real, and I thought they were quite effective. However in the second half, they swapped them for CGI, and I didn’t really understand why, it did sort of take me out of the movie.

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Although I wouldn’t call this film great, I will say that it was surprising and better than I thought it would be. This movie was definitely better than the first film, probably because it already had ‘established’ characters and the plot seemed to be moving forward faster. Maybe the next and final sequel might actually be great and even if it isn’t, it’s at the very least the first young adult franchise to not have a last instalment that’s broken into 2 parts, I’ll give Maze Runner credit for that.