This weekend, The Lion King was released in theaters. Finally and hooray. But in case you care not about Disney films, CRAWL is a great choice to step into a dark, cool, air-conditioned theater during this July’s heat wave. (Temps will feel like 110 degrees this weekend in the DMV alone.)

Sam Raimi (The Evil Dead, The Grudge, Don’t Breathe) could’ve directed a movie only about a Florida hurricane. Hurricanes are horrifying all on their own. There’s torrential rain. Flooding. Threat of levees breaking. Record-breaking wind knocking trees and debris into homes and people. Water where water shouldn’t be. Drownings. Death. Destruction.

Instead Raimi directed a film about more than a hurricane. He made CRAWL. And added killer alligators.

Alligators turn the fear and intensity level of nearly any scenario to the max, as characters struggle to survive and escape. And that’s exactly what happened in CRAWL, plus a fearless and realistic heroine.

Why is the young college student stuck in a flooding house with killer alligators during a hurricane in the first place? Oh, that’s easy to explain, you’ll see. But the short answer is: it’s in the script. Plus, who’s gonna save Daddy from becoming a gator’s main course if she’s not around?

Is the dialogue a little corny? Sure, but the great part is that as soon as the script begins to suck the most, it’s interrupted by an alligator’s vicious chomp. Then, as soon as our characters narrowly escape lunchmeat status, we’re all reminded that, oh yeah, there’s a hurricane destroying the world around them, and the fight to survive continues.

At just under 90 minutes, CRAWL is the perfect length to grip your attention for just the right amount of time. I’ve seen plenty of horror movies and jumped at least 3 times, which is difficult. Some scenes could’ve been longer, and I would’ve gladly watched for another 30 minutes. There was room for more victims, more rescuers, and more harrowing scenarios. There could’ve also been a bit more humor, but the scare factor alone was satisfying without overkill.

CRAWL, 2 of 4 stars. Quick summer fun.