New on Blu-ray/DVD from Well Go USA!
THEY CRAWL BENEATH (aka IT CRAWLS BENEATH, 2022)
Directed by Dale Fabrigar.
Written by Tricia Aurand.
Starring Joseph Almani, Karlee Eldridge, Michael Paré, Natalia Bilbao, Brian DeRozan, Christopher M. Dukes, Alec Gaylord, Gar-Ye Lee, Matthew Payne, Elena Sahagun
Police Officer Danny (Joseph Almani) is trying to enjoy a weekend with his Uncle Bill (Michael Paré) by drinking a few beers, working on an antique car, and relaxing. But when an earthquake rumbles the town, it opens a fissure releasing a bizarre new species of worm-thingees with sharp teeth and a highly poisonous bite. Pinned under the car he was working on and bitten by the worms, Danny must somehow get out and to a hospital if he is to survive.
While the wormy threat is a little too much like TREMORS for my comfort, THEY CRAWL BENEATH works because it never tries to be bigger than what its budget can afford. It manages to keep the suspense and threat going by keeping the action contained within basically one location. Danny spends pretty much the entire movie in the garage, pinned under a car, using his wits to get out of this predicament and take on these slimy beasties crawling around him. And while it isn’t Kevin Bacon and Fred Ward hopping roofs and rocks to avoid graboids and giant sandworms, it does manage to focus on the little things and makes it entertaining for a feature length jaunt.
The effects are equally impressive. Mainly practical, the effects are practically quaint to see in action as a lot of the worm creatures are just toothy-looking hand puppets. There isn’t much more effects than that, but these wormy creatures are effectively creepy and pose quite the threat to our trapped hero.
The acting is above par for this type of movie. Almani carries the film on his own, for the most part and does so with charm and wit. He keeps his humor while pinned in this impossible situation and the actor makes for a likable protagonist. Karlee Eldridge is decent as Danny’s estranged girlfriend and Michael Pare continues to show that he still has the chops when the script allows for it.
While a lot of the additional drama involving Danny’s parental turmoil gets drawn out a bit, THEY CRAWL BENEATH is a good example of a film whose goals are never beyond its budgetary reach. There’s a lot of bang for your buck in this low fi creature feature. I wish more films would take note from how this one was constructed.
Check out the trailer here!!