Horror Movie Set In Florida During Cat 5 Hurricane With Giant Alligators

The new horror movie "Crawl" features a woman trying to rescue her father from a cat 5 hurricane while being stalked by vicious, blood thirsty alligators. Yep, just another day in Florida! Click here to see more info on the movie. Watch the trailer below...if you dare! You can see it in theaters next Friday, July 12th.

More on the premise from our partners at CBS12:

UF experts share varying perspectives on the horror film, which premieres July 12. Cue the ominous music, the tension rising, the audience wanting to jump out of their seats. But it’s too late, the giant monster chomps down on its next meal. Survival thriller “Crawl” premieres July 12 and combines Florida’s most well-known clichés: hurricanes and alligators. It tells the story of Haley Keller (Kaya Scodelario) and her father, Dave (Barry Pepper), who ignore an evacuation notice during a Category 5 hurricane as the water rises and their home floods.

The real appeal of the movie, however, comes from the appearance of giant alligators hunting and attacking vulnerable human prey, causing more terror than the storm and creating the perfect nightmare situation. But how seriously should we take this? James Perran Ross, emeritus wildlife biologist at the University of Florida and expert on alligators, said the trailer shows something “a bit fanciful” but may be loosely based on truth.

“I would say it’s cautiously plausible,” Ross said. “Perhaps it’s stretching it a bit, but it wouldn’t be a horror movie if it didn’t.” Directed by Alexandre Aja (“The Hills Have Eyes”) and produced by Sam Raimi (“The Spider-man” trilogy) “Crawl” promises to hit close to home following the devastation to Florida from Hurricane Michael in October, which was also a Category 5 storm.

The trailer, released May 2, has garnered over 20 million views. It teases thrilling scenes with Scodelario’s character, as Keller fights, and even shoots, alligators to stay alive in her house’s basement (or crawlspace) during the stormy weather. Joe Wasilewski, a UF conservation biologist who has worked with crocodiles and alligators for over 40 years, points out some fallacies in the movie’s trailer. “There are no basements in Florida,” Wasilewski jokes. And he doesn’t think alligators would have any interest in taking advantage of a storm to go on a hunt for humans.

“I have been through storms with alligators during my surveys. I know firsthand when a storm is coming, and the barometric pressure starts dropping, they are much smarter than people,” Wasilewski said. “They instantly seek shelter. They have burrows or caves they call home, usually under a mud or canal, and believe me, the first thing they are going to do is go into those burrows and caves, which they can stay in for weeks with no problem.”

The movie trailer describes alligators as “Florida’s most savage and feared predators.” UF alligator researchers vary on the accuracy of the film’s premise. Ross said that although the trailer features some “sensational B-movie stuff” everything seems somewhat reasonable. “When we have a hurricane, the temperature is fairly high, we get lots and lots of water, and when the water levels rise, alligators tend to move around. We can see that now in Paynes Prairie as the alligators are spreading,” Ross said. Alligators coming onto land and invading humans’ territory is unlikely, he said, but it could happen. “Usually, I would have said that the chances of alligators coming into a home and coming into the basement is pretty far-fetched. But we just had an incident where an old lady found an alligator in her kitchen. It broke in through the front door, but she behaved sensibly and it was taken care of,” Ross said. “However, it’s unlikely and unreported. Alligators are generally fairly shy of people. Usually just getting out of their way, using a stick or broom or shovel to just push it out of the way would do the trick.”

“Crawl” follows in the footsteps of movie classics like “Jaws” and “Lake Placid,” both of which play on the fear of animal attacks. “Crawl” paints alligators as the bad guy with one of their teasers for the movie having the tagline, “If the storm doesn’t get you .... they will.” “Think of what Jaws did for sharks,” Wasilewski said. “With social media, and how Hollywood can digitize movies to make anything happen, I would like to hope people are smarter nowadays and there won’t be any mass hysteria. If you stay out of the water, you’re out of danger. Everyone in Florida knows you don’t go swimming with alligators.”

Savannah Boan, Crocodilian Enrichment Coordinator and International Ambassador for Gatorland, said the theme park will host a discussion panel July 11, during which people can ask experts about alligators and discuss common misconceptions. “Instead of being for or against it and because we love alligators so much, we’re just excited that there is any alligator movies,” Boan said. “On the flipside of that, we don’t want people to think, ‘Oh my God, alligators are going to start killing people!’ We want to endear people to the amazing wildlife we have in the state of Florida and just enjoy the movie for what it is.”

Boan said additional details about Gatorland’s discussion panel and a movie premiere are available on Gatorland’s facebook page at www.facebook.com/gatorland/.

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