Writer/director: Pierce Berolzheimer. Starring: Dylan Riley Snyder, Allie Jennings, Bryce Durfee, Jessica Morris, Robert Craighead & Chase Padgett.
On a sandy coastline, a horseshoe crab, minding its own business and humming a little ditty to itself, witnesses an explosion at a nuclear reactor.
It’s an opening sequence that may put off potential viewers due to the silliness of a sauntering crab and a low budget explosion. But I’m pretty sure that’s the point. It’s the film-makers way of letting you know that you shouldn’t be taking the movie seriously. Although if you are taking a movie about flesh-eating crab monsters seriously, you really are in the wrong place.
On what is probably a different beach, a couple is having sex when they notice a crab has sidled up and appears to be watching them. It’s enough to spoil the mood, especially when it decides to make a meal out of the guy's face before lunging at his girlfriend.
The movie was only a few minutes in, and there had been a mixture of bad explosion effects, nudity, and a fun blood & gore moment. It certainly had my attention.
As for the official blurb - A Horde of murderous crabs descend on a sleepy coastal town on Prom Night, and only a ragtag group of outcasts can save the day.
Erm … that’s it. But do we need any more? Probably not, but I’m going to have to write something, otherwise this wouldn’t be a very informative review.
So, wheelchair-bound Phillip (Dylan Riley Snyder) has been busy tinkering with his inventions and thinks he has found a way to make a pair of exoskeleton legs. Actually, ‘exoskeleton’ makes it sound more impressive than it is, but you get the idea.
With the aid of a pair of functioning legs, he can take his friend Maddy (Allie Jennings) to the prom and hit the dance floor. So, it’s a shame that events get ruined by an incursion of horseshoe crabs that are mutated by radiation and turned into killing machines. Oh, and they’re growing too.
Luckily, the duo aren’t the only ones fighting against the crab menace as they are assisted by Sheriff Flanagan (Robert Craighead), Phillip's brother, who is also the town deputy, Hunter (Bryce Durfee), school teacher, and Maddy’s mum, Annalise (Jessica Morris) and, finally, Radu (Chase Padgett).
I had a lot of fun with this movie. In a similar vein as 2020’s Pyscho Goreman, it had a nostalgic feel that took me back to the films I loved watching when I was a kid. Hell, I still love watching, but when someone tries to evoke those feelings of times past and get the old member berries into action, they often fail.
What works for Crabs, is that it knows exactly what it is. It’s a fun, and often-times silly, movie, but one full of great lines, a likeable cast, blood, monsters, and even a kaiju sequence. There is a lot packed into its 80-minute runtime.
There's a sequence that could be straight out of Gremlins and an audio nod to Pacific Rim.
It’s an eclectic mix that shouldn’t work but does.
Characters who I thought I was going to dislike - yes, I am talking about Radu - ended up being entertaining. Although it probably helped that Chase Padgett had some great lines (probably with a fair amount of ad-libbing) that were pretty funny. His character gets to sing over the end credits, and even that got a few laughs from me.
I also get the impression that the cast had a fun time filming this, and I enjoyed what I presume was an unintentional chuckle from Bryce Durfee when Radu cries out, "Punch it in the taint!"
The downside is that Crabs! may be too much of a mixed bag of silliness for some people. It doesn’t take itself seriously. And when you throw in things like references to Jurassic Park, a prom night love story, and all the other things that I mentioned earlier, I can fully understand why not everyone will enjoy the experience.
I enjoyed having something light-hearted to watch. Something that didn’t have any pretensions about what it was. Something that even had props that brought a smile to my usual grumpy demeanour. Why a class needs to dissect dead cats, rather than frogs, or sheep eyeballs, I’ll never know, but the ‘do not eat’ warning on the container amused me.
Crabs! is the first writing and directing credit for Pierce Berolzheimer, and I hope we get to see more from him. It’s a movie that juggles many balls, and it does it without dropping any of them. The experience is filled with fun, nostalgia, blood, and surprisingly, a lot of heart, too.
It is the one time that Crabs! is something I recommend you catch.
Crabs has been released by Raven Banner and you can watch the official trailer here.