Written by: Greg McCabe
Directed by: Justin Dix
Cast: Nicholas Bell, Ngaire Dawn Fair, John Brumpton
I didn’t really know what to expect when I popped this independent Australian thriller into my DVD player. But what started out as standard cinema fare, slowly evolved into a very entertaining film.
The premise is rather simple: a small military unit is sent into a secret underground research facility to rescue a team of scientists that are being terrorized by an unknown force.
The movie is equal parts horror, science fiction, and action. A lot of times, when a movie tries to incorporate too many themes, it suffers from an identity crises and the overall tone can become muddled. However, Crawlspace was able to successfully blend these three genres without issue. When one aspect began to feel stale, the movie did a great job of introducing a new plot element or scene that reenergized that particular facet of the film.
For example, just when the horror started to seem fairly tame, the viewer is hit with a number of grizzly scares. And when the science fiction elements seemed to be evaporating from the storyline, a twist is dropped that provides for some great brain candy. And when it appears as if all the action you’re going to get is repetitive machine gun fire, there’s a righteous scalpel fight.
The set and overall visual feel of Crawlspace was dark and ominous which helped amplify the suspense. There were some well-executed hallucinatory scenes, and a time or two when the feeling of claustrophobia became overwhelming.
Sometimes the acting seemed a bit off, but I think that may have been due to the Australian accents. For the most part, the performances were solid.
My complaints are rather minor. First, there’s fine line between building tension and slow pacing, and sometimes this movie straddled that line. I feel that some of the tension-building scenes could’ve been shortened a bit to keep up the tempo. Also, they kept the story very micro. The main plot twist was great, but it only consisted of a few lines of dialogue. I really wish they had expanded on it and offered a slightly bigger picture.
Overall, this film was surprisingly entertaining and provided a refreshing change of pace from Hollywood horror. Here are a couple of my favorite lines from Crawlspace:
Four Pack: “I’m about two cans short of a six pack.”
Cesar: “What we do here isn’t exactly sanctioned by the government.”
Eve: “I don’t know what I am.”
Cesar: “In the 80s, the Soviets developed a paranormal division…”
About the author: Greg McCabe is a born-and-raised Texan. His debut novel, The Undying Love, was published in 2013. Greg enjoys all genres of fiction, but seems to gravitate towards horror and science fiction.