27th Aug2021

Frightfest 2021: ‘Crabs!’ Review

by Phil Wheat

Stars: Dylan Riley Snyder, Allie Jennings, Jessica Morris, Bryce Durfee, Robert Craighead, Chase Padgett | Written and Directed by Pierce Berolzheimer

Stupid, ridiculous, inept… AMAZING! Yes, that’s director Pierce Berolzheimer’s Crabs! in a nutshell.

Feeling like a product of 50s creature-feature B-movies and the output of The Asylum, Crabs! plot is simple: a horde of murderous crab monsters descend on a sleepy coastal town on prom night, and only a ragtag group of outcasts – including Philip McCalister, a wheelchair-bound geek; his girl friend Maddy, who becomes more; her mom and his brother – can save the day. Yes, we’re in cliche-filled territory here but that’s not a bad thing, for Crabs! is actually an on-the-nose satire that plays with the conventions of the genre whilst conforming to them too!

On the surface it may seem like Crabs! is an inept mess but there’s so much going on under the films ridiculous surface that Crabs! is a film lovers dream; feeling very much like someone took a recent Mark Polonia film and threw in a TON of pop culture references and was a big fan of a certain 90s kids Sentai show…

The satire in Crabs! is brilliant – one character has a put-on, ridiculous, foreign accent, in a brilliant satire of the “token” characters of old. The characterisation pushes the limits of political correctness, remarkably reflecting how times have changed – though the response he gets from the locals in this film shows how the more things change the more they stay the same… unfortunately. Crabs! even goes as far as setting it’s a scene at the high school prom – the slithering titular crab attack looking like the monstrous zombie-creating slugs of Night of the Creeps! And the references don’t stop there – we get an amazing piss-take on the A-Team-like building of a weapon to defeat the killer crabs!

Oh and did I mention the entire film is done with PRACTICAL effects? From the tiny crabs, to their mutated form AND a couple of ginormous monsters (including a washed up dead whale), it’s all practical effects. OK, so there might be some CGI enhancement of the blood spilling carnage but the creature effects are all too real.

And that weapon that Philip and friends build? Well I hope you like kaiju fights because thats what we get here… and its fucking genius! It’s like watching a horror movie version of Power Rangers, complete with rubber-suited monster and a giant crab-killing mech suit piloted by Philip!

Crabs! is totally stupid but stupid in the most clever, brilliant, FUN (this film is really, REALLY, fun!) way. It’s the antithesis of all these so-called “elevated” horrors we’ve been seeing recently; and by the time the films over, with its fun coda, I really wanted to see more of Philip and his crab-killer mech suit… now how about a Philip McCalister franchise Pierce Berolzheimer?!

**** 4/5

Crabs! screened yesterday, Thursday August 26th, as part of this years Arrow Video Frightfest.


Comments are closed.