There’s Nothing Funny about Crabs! (2022)
First Non-Festival Release: November 15, 2022 (Digital/Streaming Platforms)
Director: Pierce Berolzheimer
Writer: Pierce Berolzheimer
Runtime: 80 Minutes
Starring: Dylan Riley Snyder, Allie Jennings, Bryce Durfee, Jessica Morris
Where to Watch: Check out where to find it here
Bright and quick-witted, Phillip (Dylan Riley Snyder), is hard at work on his latest project to re-animate his legs to working condition when he is told by his brother Hunter (Bryce Durfee) that he must shut down his operations due to their impending move. His friend Maddy (Allie Jennings) consoles him and sticks by his side as his navigates life without the ability to walk or his parents. While this plays out, a terrifying force emerges from the sea threatening to upheave the sleepy seas-side town where they live: Crabs! Once the horseshoe crabs appear, it may be too late for anyone to survive.
Goofy monster comedy Crabs! appeals to bottom feeder humor and cheap thrills in spite of fun premise.
An overlooked source of terror, horseshoe crabs make for a compelling antagonist if they were dropped in a different movie. Going into Crabs! it is clear to see that it is a goofy movie that never intends on taking itself too seriously. It is, however, comprised of all the ingredients of a terrible low budget flick. The powerfully nerdy kid with a knack for science spends his days creating military grade weaponry? Check. Painfully trite sibling angst and forced relationships that are given next to no development? Check. Wacky side characters introduced only to serve as wickedly bad comic relief? Check. Check. Check. Readers, there is no depth to the horrors that viewers will witness with Radu.
Quite possibly the most irritating addition to 2022 horror is Radu, the comically unfunny foreign exchange student that eats up far too much screentime to be acceptable. Chase Padgett plays Radu and is given the Herculean task of making the hijinx of this man not only tolerable but endearing. Unfortunately, he fails at this spectacularly. What could have been amusing had it amounted to a short five-minute throwaway scene is transformed into the most irritating recurring gag of the year. A screen suck at its finest, this character’s only purpose is to be loud, obnoxious, and serve as a weak punchline whenever the film runs out of equally lame jokes to tell.
In fact, most of the acting leaves a lot to be desired. Typical for low budget films, the cast is rough to say the least. Given the tone of the film, it’s understandable why the team doesn’t seem to take the material too seriously but the element of danger rarely rears its head throughout the film’s short runtime. While endearing and energetic, the cast fails to bring just enough seriousness to make the film feel real in its world.
It isn’t all bad. For all its faults, there is quite a beautiful commitment to indie filmmaking behind the making of Crabs! that shines through the bad. The entire cast looks like they are having a blast. Whatever energy is harnessed on set is positive and makes for some truly fun moments when the gang is fighting back against the crustacean menace. The final boss battle, while eye-rollingly saccharine, feels like a genuine triumph of low budget innovation to make something different happen. Even little details about the critters are incorporated into the film seamlessly. Most notably, their blue blood, derived from real-life horseshoe crabs is correctly used.
This reviewer’s experience may be tainted by overdrawn expectations and a desire to support marine horror. Crabs! has all the finesse of a Syfy original film and if that is the goal, it succeeds. Bad special effects and dodgy acting aside, the true mayhem behind the film lies in its script. The overreliance on its cheap comedy and off-the-wall premise, waters the film down so much that by the end it feels so empty. What could be a fun yet exciting approach to aqua horror becomes mundane with the dropping of body after body succumbing to the same head grabbing horseshoe crab combo move. Crabs! is destined to gain a cult following, so feel free to ignore this review and take a trip to the beach instead.
Overall Score? 4.5/10