Suspense Mystery Thriller Based On Hit Novel Will Leave You Breathless

By Nikola Pajtic | Updated

Based on the bestselling novel by Delia Owens, Where the Crawdads Sing gave me the same emotional sensations as the book. Directed by Olivia Newman, the film is a visual feast and a remarkable coming-of-age story embroiled in a murder mystery. It follows Kya, a young woman, as she grows up alone in the unforgiving North Carolina marsh.

Where The Crawdads Sings

While in most books, childhoods are as idyllic as they can get, however, that is not the case here. Where the Crawdads Sing portrays Kya’s childhood as harsh, to say the least. An abusive alcoholic father breaks the family, and Kya is left to take care of herself alone at just seven years old.

Daisy Edgar Jones, of War of the Worlds fame, beautifully portrays a girl who tries to fend for herself but becomes ostracized by the townsfolk of the small North Carolina town Barkley Cove. She is given the nickname ‘Marsh Girl’. Through the years, she has survived by selling mussels at a store owned by people who become Kya’s friends. 

Growing Up In The Marsh

Where the Crawdads Sing sees Kya through several stages of her life, jumping from one timeline to another, eventually falling into one. On this eponymous coming-of-age adventure, Kya finds love and gets her heart torn apart by lies and betrayal. Growing up, she becomes close to a kind neighbor, Tate Walker, played by Taylor John Smith, who teaches her to read and write, and their romance blossoms within the limits of the marsh.

Turns Into A Murder-Mystery

Unfortunately, their happiness is short-lived as Tate leaves for college and breaks the promise of returning to her. Fast forward, Kya has found love again. This time, she found solace with Chase Andrews (Harris Dickinson). Dickinson brings a believable character from the book to the screen with all its charm and darkness underneath. She soon discovers his dark side, which sets in motion a string of events that turn a coming-of-age story into a murder mystery thriller, with Kya sent to jail.

Closely Follows The Novel

As a film, Where the Crawdads Sing is afraid to stand on its own and follows the book to the tiniest details, with some timeline changes that don’t even affect the story. Olivia Newman played it safe here by following the book, which was good to see. 

I didn’t expect new twists and turns, as the film doesn’t need them. It required great acting and beautiful scenery. The score, the scenes, and the main story of Where the Crawdads Sing won’t be dull to you for a single moment, despite the film being over two hours long. When the credits rolled, I wondered how fast the time flew by. 

Cheering For Kya

I was glued to the screen from the start until the end cheering for Kya, feeling what she felt throughout this magnificent journey. Her independence and innocence hooked me and kept me on her side, a stark contrast to how the people treated her. Yet, I knew there was something more about her than meets the eye, keeping the suspense element alive throughout the entire film. 

A Box Office Success

Reese Witherspoon’s production company, Hello Sunshine, was pivotal in bringing Delia Owens’ bestselling novel Where the Crawdads Sing to the big screen.

Filmed in Louisiana in early 2021, the movie adaptation arrived in theaters in July 2022. Critical reception was mixed as the film holds just 34 percent on Rotten Tomatoes, with some praising the film’s stunning visuals and lead performance by Daisy Edgar-Jones, while others found the story uneven. Despite this, the film became a box office success, grossing over $144 million worldwide against a $24 million budget. 

Taylor Swift Contributed An Original Song

The film score also helped set the mood, with Taylor Swift’s original song “Carolina” stealing the show. Swift wanted to create something for the film, having read the book a while back and still taking hold of her. Taylor said she wrote the song before the filming even started, and this effort earned her Golden Globe nomination for Best Original Song. 

Stream The Film Today


A few plotholes might scare you off, but I recommend you give When the Crawdads Sing a chance. First, because the marsh breathes and exists independently as a character. Then, because of the Oscar-worthy acting of Daisy and the twist that will leave you breathless. This suspense mystery is a must-watch for those who read the book and newcomers alike. You can stream it on Hulu or rent it on AppleTV.