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Crawl [UK] Blu-ray Review

  • Aspect Ratio: 2.35:1
  • Video Codec: MPEG-2
  • Resolution: 1080p/24 (24Hz)
  • Audio Codec: English DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 (48kHz/24-bit)
  • Subtitles: N/A
  • Subtitles Color: N/A
  • Region: B (Region-Locked)
  • Certification: 18
  • Run Time: 80 Mins.
  • Discs: 1 (1 x Blu-ray)
  • Studio: Arrow Films
  • Blu-ray Release Date: January 25, 2013
  • RRP: £14.99

Overall
[Rating:3.5/5]
The Film
[Rating:2/5]
Video Quality
[Rating:3.5/5]
Audio Quality
[Rating:4/5]
Supplemental Materials
[Rating:3/5]

Click thumbnails for high-resolution 1920X1080p screen captures

(All TheaterByte screen captures are lightly compressed with lossy JPEG at 100% quality setting and are meant as a general representation of the content. They do not fully reveal the capabilities of the Blu-ray format)

The Film

[Rating:2/5]

This Australian horror/thriller from writer/director Paul China seems to tick all the right boxes for a thriller. There’s more than ample suspense, more than enough atmosphere, a reasonably creepy villain, and slick production values. The problems with Crawl are that these are assembled like Dr. Frankenstein’s monster, if you will – a little bit of this, a little bit of that, and let’s hope it all works. Unfortunately, nothing really ever does work or fit together in any way that actually makes sense with Crawl.

The story kicks off with slimy bar owner Slim (Paul Holmes) when he hires a mysterious Croatian hit man (George Shevtsov) to bump off his former friend, a local garage owner, over an unpaid debt. On his way out of town, the steel-eyed, cowboy getup-wearing hit man runs over a pedestrian on an a dark, isolated road that just happens to be not too far from the home of one of Slim’s pretty barmaids, Marilyn (Georgina Haig). Home alone and cheerfully awaiting her boyfriend Travis’ return home and his expected proposal of marriage, Marilyn unexpectedly becomes involved in Slim and the mysterious Croatian cowboy’s plan when he invade’s her home, holding her captive.

Now, as aforementioned, there are elements of Crawl that give it lots of potential – the chilling score, for one, helps set the mood. There are jump scares aplenty, and the dark, isolated setting of Marilyn’s home make for a perfect setting. However, nothing that takes place here adds up. Why does the Croatian just happen to end up right near Marilyn’s house? Why when he runs over a pedestrian on a dark, isolated road with no one else around for miles doesn’t he just keep going rather than invade someone’s home? Oh, well, of course, he’s “injured,” but that doesn’t explain why he doesn’t just kill this woman outright or her friend who stops by to drop off a cake and take her car. Not to drop any more spoilers, but the plot holes in this film are just too ridiculous to overlook, even if the atmosphere and scares are all of a high caliber. By the time you get to the supposed twist ending, you’ll be scratching your head and chuckling.

Video Quality

[Rating:3.5/5]

Crawl was shot in high definition on the Red One MX and it looks generally good, with strong production values, especially for a horror/thriller such as this. Unfortunately, it arrives on Blu-ray with a 1080p/24 MPEG-2 transfer squeezed onto a single-layer, BD-25 disc with a mid-bitrate encoding. One can only assume that the MPEG-2 codec was utilized to save on costs, as was the lesser expensive BD-25 disc. The result is an image that looks passable, but also shows artifacts in some strong gradation lines in dark night skies and some slight low-level compression noise in shadows and on flat colored backgrounds. Otherwise, the transfer is satisfying, but not top shelf.

Audio Quality

[Rating:4/5]

The soundtrack better serves the material than the video transfer, offering a strong DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 (48kHz/24-bit) mix that perfectly lays the chilling orchestral score by Christopher Gordon over subtle, atmospheric sounds that surround you, like the creaking of a floorboard, a distant radio playing, or a car engine. When there are gunshots (and there are a few), they ring out through the soundstage with good punch, supported by just enough low frequency extension. Dialogue is clean and intelligible throughout.

Supplemental Materials

[Rating:3/5]

The audio commentary will offer the most information, but a brief Q&A from the Glasgow Frightfest with the filmmakers and quick interviews with the stars are also on offer.

The supplements:

  • Commentary
  • Frightfest Interviews – Frightfest Glasgow, Glasgow Film Festival (1.78:1; 1080p/24; 00:12:23)
  • Cast Interviews (1.78:1; 1080p/24; 00:04:45)
  • Trailer (2.35:1; 1080p/24)

The Definitive Word

Overall:

[Rating:3.5/5]

Crawl looks like a proper thriller, but Paul China and his twin brother Benjamin who handles production duties should have taken this screenplay back to the drawing board. The pair show a lot of potential, but this feature film is more silly than thrilling.

Additional Screen Captures

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Overall
[Rating:3.5/5]
The Film
[Rating:2/5]
Video Quality
[Rating:3.5/5]
Audio Quality
[Rating:4/5]
Supplemental Materials
[Rating:3/5]



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