It is a money well spent expenditure, for the makers not exactly for the viewers.
Aja understands the script better than anyone. As he should. The director Alexandre Aja is aware of the trajectory that leads these characters and us towards the climax. And it is that ammo of his that he uses at the sign of danger. If the film walks a toddler walk, Aja is pulling tricks left and right to not let it fall or fumble. And it doesn’t. The film maintains its productive sensible pace as the elements topple one over another, scaring us using the game of numbers. Yes, it is good to see math involved in a commercial horror film. Let’s take the basic setting for example.
The plot kicks in after the characters gather up in one location. Now, the makers to elevate the fear of our hosts uses the outnumbered logic to corner them. Being aware of the fact that you are to be drowned by a series of creatures, he isn’t revealing this information all at once. That discovery is itself scary. And it is not just that measurement but the amount of water that they are fiddled by like a toy or even various insects crawling over them.
These tiny aspects of the genre keeps us engaged and entertained. But now this is where the film gets stuck. For beyond the B grade pop cultural theme, there is no other layer to look for. The crux of the emotional punches is the father and daughter relationship that never communicated with me. When something so vital as this fails to hold on to its promises, the drive or the dive that makes these characters keep jumping or sacrificing or saving is like an empty gun fired across the room for attention. Crawl doesn’t crawl literally but it surely does crawl metaphorically; I know that’s a cheap shot.