The Movie Waffler Vashon Island Film Festival 2022 Review - CRABS! | The Movie Waffler

Vashon Island Film Festival 2022 Review - CRABS!

crabs review
A coastal town is besieged by mutant crabs.

Review by Eric Hillis

Directed by: Pierce Berolzheimer

Starring: Dylan Riley Snyder, Jessica Morris, Allie Jennings, Bryce Durfee, Chase Padgett

crabs poster

Writer-director Pierce Berolzheimer's feature debut Crabs! isn't a body-horror concerning a nasty type of STD but rather a monster movie in which radiation infected crabs mutate and turn murderous. Some of them grow to human size, with one even taking the form of a giant Kaiju-like creature. Berolzheimer is aiming high, but his film is let down by juvenile and offensive stereotypes, dodgy CG and a lack of inventive kills.

crabs review

Okay, there is actually one clever kill, but it comes right at the beginning of the film and raises our expectations to a level the film never again matches. A prologue sees a couple having sex on the beach of a small California coastal town when they're attacked by one of the mutated crabs. The scene has a witty denouement that will make you believe we're in for a smart send-up of monster movies.

crabs review

Alas, things soon begin to drag. We're introduced to the film's main players: wheelchair bound science nerd Philip (Dylan Riley Snyder) and his best friend Maddy (Allie Jennings), for whom he harbours a crush. Along with Romanian exchange student Radu (Chase Padgett, with a performance that's wildly offensive to both Eastern Europeans and those with mental disabilities), Philip's deputy cop brother Hunter (Bryce Durfee) and Maddy's teacher mom Annalise (Jessica Morris), they come to realise their town is under attack by killer crustaceans. Using his science skills, Philip sets about finding a way to regain the use of his legs and fashion a weapon that can fight back against the crabs.

crabs review

It's difficult to figure out what type of audience Berolzheimer is aiming to satisfy with his debut. The prologue is tailor made to get a drunken midnight horror festival crowd on board, boasting blood and boobs and an awareness of the tropes of this sub-genre. But most of the rest of the movie resembles something that might be broadcast on Nickelodeon at five in the afternoon. Snyder and Jennings both come off as graduates of the Disney school, so it's weird when they come out with smutty lines like "Let's go watch homeless people have sex on the beach!" The film's blandly sunny aesthetic cements its resemblance to afternoon kids' TV, as does the over-the-top finale in which Philip takes the controls of a giant robot. By that point, anyone sucked in by the promising opening segment will have realised Crabs! is far from the love letter to/piss take of classic monster movies it's being billed as.

 screens at the Vashon Island Film Festival on August 12th.

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