Where The Crawdads Sing Footage Reaction: Nicholas Sparks Meets Big Little Lies [CinemaCon 2022]

Today at CinemaCon in Las Vegas, Sony Pictures showed footage from the upcoming film "Where the Crawdads Sing," based on the bestselling 2018 novel by Delia Owens. Produced by Reese Witherspoon, it's the story of a young woman named Kya (Daisy Edgar-Jones) who was abandoned as a child in North Carolina. She's rescued, but never accepted into the community other than as an oddity called "Marsh Girl." When one of the young men she's interested in is murdered, Kya becomes a suspect. 

Olivia Newman ("First Match") directed the film which also stars Taylor John Smith ("Sharp Objects") Harris Dickinson ("The King's Man"), Michael Hyatt ("Snowfall"), Sterling Macer Jr. ("Double Down"), and David Strathairn ("Nomadland"). The script was written by Lucy Alibar. Pop star Taylor Swift wrote and performed the original song "Carolina" for the film.

We're on the ground at CinemaCon, checking out all the upcoming movie footage for us. Make sure you stay tuned to the site for all the reactions.

Murder is afoot (but so is romance)

Reese Witherspoon introduced the "Where the Crawdads Sing" reel via Facetime, setting the mood in the CinemaCon room. We're told, "in town, they told the story of the marsh girl, the one who grew up alone in the wild" — this is Kya's story, a young woman who grew up in a swamp, abandoned, only to find herself isolated in adulthood as well. The footage shows flashbacks to a young Kya (Jojo Regina) digging in through the marsh — neglected, forlorn, and lonely.

But there's a silver lining in this story: love. As a young adult, Kya falls in love with a boy: Tate Walker (Taylor John Smith). The romance between the two is palpable, even in the brief CinemaCon clips. Yet, there's a central mystery at play here too; cops accuse Kya of murdering another young man, and the sneak preview ends with a shot of a boat on choppy waters. Clearly, Kya's trials and tribulations are far from over.  

Based on the presentation here, "Where the Crawdads Sing" is striking a tone of thriller-mystery and young-adult romance — a bit like the bittersweet love of a Nicholas Sparks story, crossed with the darker intrigue and drama of "Big Little Lies."

Here is the official synopsis for "Where the Crawdads Sing:"

From the best-selling novel comes a captivating mystery. Where the Crawdads Sing tells the story of Kya, an abandoned girl who raised herself to adulthood in the dangerous marshlands of North Carolina. For years, rumors of the "Marsh Girl" haunted Barkley Cove, isolating the sharp and resilient Kya from her community. Drawn to two young men from town, Kya opens herself to a new and startling world; but when one of them is found dead, she is immediately cast by the community as the main suspect. As the case unfolds, the verdict as to what actually happened becomes increasingly unclear, threatening to reveal the many secrets that lay within the marsh.

"Where the Crawdads Sing" will hit theaters on July 15, 2022.