Aussie action-horror flick Crawlspace shares its hoary, well worn plot with both James Cameron’s magnificent sci fi-horror Aliens and Paul WS Anderson’s less magnificent, dumbass video game adaptation Resident Evil, as an elite team of military grunts find themselves thrown into a meatgrinder as they investigate downed communications at a mysterious research facility. While the claustrophobic set design, try-hard, salty banter and motion detectors suggest an attempt at something in line with Cameron’s masterpiece, the thick eared dialogue, unconvincing characters and the inclusion of, I kid you not, killer cyborg gorillas, mean it has far more in common with the godforsaken stupidity of Anderson’s credibility abusing brand of nonsense.
Regardless of which of these movies it’s seeking to emulate, Crawlspace misses the mark completely in both regards. It almost goes without saying that it can’t begin to compare with the claustrophobic terror and brilliantly realised characters and world building of Aliens, very few, if any, movies ever could. By taking itself far more seriously than any movie featuring a cyborg gorilla ever should, Crawlspace also fails to inject even a tiny fraction of the brain-dead, guilty pleasure fun and entertainment of the Resident Evil franchise, it’s pretty much a total failure on every level.
The cast are almost entirely lousy, only lead actress Amber Clayton retaining even an ounce of dignity as a mysterious, amnesiac prisoner, everybody else is either horribly wooden or overacting wildly, it’s school nativity play level stuff throughout.
The action scenes fail to raise the pulse for even a second, the grunts are such utterly disposable non-characters that it’s impossible to care about their fates. This might not have mattered if they were disposed of with a little imagination, a bit of creative bloodshed might have gone a long way, but instead the action is totally uninspired, bordering on tedious.
The screenplay is a dog too, the banter between characters is unwieldy and forced, it never feels authentic, with a supposedly tight knit military unit displaying the level of camaraderie you might expect from strangers at a particularly depressing bus stop. The rafts of expository dialogue are horribly pace sapping and head slappingly unnatural, it’s a plot that could fit on a match head, let alone match book, but the writers of Crawlspace have so little respect for their audience’s intelligence that they feel the need to turn the Explain-a-tron 5000 up to 11 and hammer every point home with all the subtlety of a Michael Bay directed episode of Hollyoaks.
I honestly cannot think of even one legitimate reason to recommend Crawlspace to anyone, even those who enjoy the ludicrous, ham fisted dumbassery of Resident Evil or a Uwe Boll film would struggle to find anything approaching entertainment in this mangy bit of nonsense. Avoid.
Director: Justin Dix
Stars: Nicholas Bell, Ngaire Dawn Fair, John Brumpton
Runtime: 117 min