Let me say right up front that I do not enjoy tight spaces. Never have and never will. Watching Crawl or Die reminded me why I have such an aversion to being confined in super small spaces. In many ways it’s a lot like Buried, little to no room to maneuver, no way to easy get out, constant fear that something will cause the space to get smaller crushing me to death. Well you get the idea…
If Crawl or Die is trying to make the audience uncomfortable it does a pretty good job. A single location film shot on what I can only assume is a micro-budget, the movie follows an elite security team who are trying to rescue the last fertile female from Earth II. Things go wrong during the extraction and the team end up underground in a series of tunnels. To make matter worse whatever derailed their carefully laid plans is following them, and is very very hungry.
This is an interesting movie. On one hand it’s a survival film that does a great job ratcheting up the tension as the movie moves forward. On the other hand there is almost no storyline. Limited exposition isn’t a bad thing. I’ve argued before that a lot of movies suffer from an overload of backstory, making them less enjoyable because they rob the viewer of any chance to use their imaginations. Crawl or Die goes in the opposite direction. There is one small scene that provides context for why the group is there and what the mission is, and that’s it. Unfortunately, the dialogue is a bit pedestrian and doesn’t do much through the rest of the film to add anything. Literally no subtext at all. Hardly any character development, which I can give a pass on because it’s not the type of movie where development is key to success.
The main teammember Tank, played by Nicole Alonso, is the focal point of pretty much the entire film. She does a decent job of carrying the movie, showcasing how physically challenging crawl or die is while trying to save The Package, played by Torey Byrne.
I have to hand it to writer/director Oklahoma Ward, he’s created a decent movie with almost no premise or budget. the limited special effects are well handled and gruesome enough to make you not want to be in the tunnel, a hungry alien right on your ass.
For what it is the movie is enjoyable and fun. It’s starts off like gangbusters throwing you right into the action. Things then simmer down a bit and once settled in it becomes a tense slow crawl to the finish line.