Scott Marks 12:30 p.m., July 26
Just in time for hurricane season, a reminder that’s it’s not just the water you have to worry about, it’s what’s in the water, too. In this case, a giant gator. All you need to know about the dynamic between the squally father (Barry Pepper) and daughter (Kaya Scodelario) is spelled out in an opening flashback to a childhood swim meet: overbearing sports dad stresses the importance of winning when all his trembly offspring can muster is a second-place trophy. (Scodelario’s combined athleticism and habitually icy glower make her a perfect casting choice.) What’s the payoff when daddy’s little “apex predator” becomes the dark horse favorite in a waist-deep battle to save his life in a basement arena stocked with alligators? A pronounced improvement over director Alexandre Aja’s previous water-logged jump-inducer, Piranha 3D. Aja nimbly limits most of the action to the flooded cellar, save for a spectacular-to-behold display of carnage that plays out in the filling station convenient store conveniently located across the street. Though not a patch on Lewis Teague’s charming Alligator, a steady dose of more action-thrillers like this may help send comic-book carcinoma into remission. 2019.