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Review: Crawl or Die -“Tight and tense, high concept original”

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Crawl or Die premieres in the UK on the Horror Channel (Sky 319) on the 17th of July and is well worth setting your Sky planner up for.

Written and directed by Oklahoma Ward, and starring awesome newcomer Nicole Alonso, Crawl or Die is a claustrophobic sci-fi horror thriller – think The Descent meets Alien, with a lead that is the love-child of Ripley and Sarah Connor.

Dropped directly into a running gun battle with an unseen foe, barely a word is uttered for the first ten head rush-inducing minutes that show that the film, and director Oklahoma Ward, mean business. A brief stop for a rare breath then informs us with as little fuss as possible that it’s the future, and Earth and the human race are in big trouble.

A hinted at virus of some kind has sterilised almost every woman on the planet. The one lady left must now be protected at all costs by an elite unit and taken to Earth 2. The unit and their “package” get attacked en route by blood-thirsty and seemingly unstoppable aliens and have to take refuge in a never-ending tunnel system.

The barely seen alien that pursues them in the dark quickly picks off the entire unit except for a lone badass: Tank. Tank (Nicole Alonso) is brilliant. A pixie in booty shorts and combat boots with a grown-out bleached-blonde mohawk, Tank is as tough as nails hammered into a metal plate in Jason Statham’s head. Now “the package”s last hope, Tank must squash, squeeze and squirm through her panic-inducing environs, trying to keep herself and “the package” together and out of the alien’s clutches.

The first rare sight of the beast is cool: a slowly unfurling slimy spiky tail, but further quick glances make it seem derivative of Geiger’s Alien. This is a bit of a misnomer, as when we get a full lit look at it at the end it’s actually not – it’s a squat and powerful biped with a ring of spider-like leg talons. This could be a a rare case of keeping the monster in the shadows actually hindering not helping.

Tight and tense, Crawl or Die is great at invoking claustrophobia and is chock full of potential and promise. Budgetary issues hinder at times, leaving Tank treading water at some points; the sets and situations getting a bit repetitive; and the creature failing to impress, but Ward’s striking visual flair and Alonso’s punky spunky performance power through and carry the film.

A low budget high concept original, Crawl or Die is aiming to be a trilogy and an end credit promises that TANK WILL RETURN. Based on this first entry in the hoped-for franchise this is great news for genre fans as Tank/Nicole Alonso could and should go on to become a true genre film hero.

3.5-out-of-5

Crawl or Die premieres on the Horror Channel on the 17th of July.

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