Director Alexandre Aja has a knack with nail-biting horror movies, like 2003’s “High Tension” and 2006’s “The Hills Have Eyes,” and his abilities are on full display in this animal-gone-wild horror subgenre. With only two main characters, the movie’s narrative is limited to their interactions as they’re trapped inside a house filled with man-eating alligators, but luckily both Kaya Scodelario and Barry Pepper have believable chemistry and strong acting chops so they carry the narrative’s weight very well. Additionally, the use of vicious alligators as the primary threat to our main characters is rather inspired: After all, not a lot of horror movies have made effective use of alligators within the animal-gone-wild subgenre, and most of those who have have been B-movies (albeit a few effective ones here and there, like 1981’s “Alligator” and 1999’s gleeful “Lake Placid”). With a trim running time the movie doesn’t wear out its welcome, and there’s additional suspense with the presence of a Category 5 hurricane outside (not to mention a helpless dog stuck inside with our protagonists), and while it never becomes a great horror movie, it’s a solid, scary and satisfying way to spend 87 minutes.
Rating: ★★★ (out of 5)