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Saturday, August 16, 2014

Movie Review: Crawl or Die

How do you fight off something when you don't know anything about it? In August 2014, a team tried everything they could, but running seemed to be working the best.

Directing this 86 minute horror/sci-fi/thriller is Oklahoma Ward.

Crawling around this one is: Nicole Alonso as Tank, Torey Byrne as Package, Tommy Ball as Doc, Wil Crown as Snoop, David Paul Baker as Sniper, Tom Chamverlain as Mic, Larry Huitt as Thumper and Matthew Stephen Crabtree as Creature.

All they had to do was deliver an extremely valuable package, that was the last of it's kind. The team's job was simple, take a ride and keep the package safe until its delivery at the rendezvous spot with another team. Everything was going as planned, until it came time to meet up with the other team. That's when everything
went to hell in a hand basket. Now everyone is running for their lives, from what they're not sure, but they know it's dangerous. Not sure where they are the team finds themselves falling back to a bunch of tunnels as their only chance to survive. As the threat gets closer and the options get fewer, the mission becomes even more important. Keep the package safe and alive... at all costs.

I caught this one because of the title... Crawl or Die. Yeah, that sounds like a pretty cool horror flick, so how could I pass up on watching it? Not knowing anything about this one, my mind wondered on the possibilities Little did I know, the title was more of a warning for it's viewers...

Oklahoma Ward was really involved it the making of this one. Not only was Ward the writer but also the directer and did some of the cinematography. As the writer, Ward penned up a storyline that was kind of cool... in the beginning of the film. I liked the story because Ward keeps you in the dark for a good chunk of the flick, you don't really get enough to understand where the characters are or why. The opening hooked me, I really wanted to know what was going on. Eventually the story unfolds and you get the layout of what is going on. That's about the point were everything started getting stale for me.

The script was ok, Ward kept it really light and didn't have a lot of conversations going between the characters. Now, that wasn't a bad thing (at first) because that put the weight of the scene on the shoulders of the set and cast to really sell it, which they did quite a few times. Unfortunately, Ward let the sets and cast carry too much of the weight when the script should have been there to help out. I will say Alonso did a great job selling the scenes and more than carried her portion of the film. 
                                               


Playthrough, again I liked the opening. It kicks off with such a force. Unfortunately, it loses that force pretty quick, and that's about the only thing this flick does quickly. Between the lack of script and the options of camera angles everything gets old quick. It's watching people squat and crawl through the tunnels as we watch them from either behind of in front of them. A little action or suspense hits, then it's back to crawling through tunnels, as we watch from the front or back. Look out they're under attack! A-n-d we're back to crawling... Now repeat these last few lines over and over for about 80 minutes and you get the gist of the film. Yeah, that left me pretty bored for about 60 minutes of my life.

As for the special effects that Stephen Crabtree and John Stirling put together, I thought things looked pretty good. Yes it's a low budget flick, but they pulled off (some) stuff that looked good for the scenes. The creature, on the other hand, kind of let me down. It has a (heavy) resemblance to the alien creature from the popular movie turned franchise, Alien (1979 by Ridley Scott) with a mix of a spider thrown in. So yeah... with the mix of the two it's just didn't come off scary or cool looking. The film was doing better when you weren't quite sure what was after them. Not leaving the horror to the imagination of the viewer is something a lot of films stray away from now-a-days. Some of those old school techniques would do wonders for some of today's flicks. The bit of gore that it has during the attacks did look pretty good, I have to give them that.

Craig Chartier and Ward tag-teamed the Cinematography and pulled off some good scenes. Every now and then everything looked good and the scene would grab my attention. There just wasn't enough of those moments to make the film interesting. One of the problems is the story takes place in a bunch of tunnels. So you don't really have a lot of options when it comes to camera angles. Yeah, you are up close and in the mix (almost like you're really there) with everything going on. Thing is, you really need a strong story or script to pull this off. Limited sets can still produce excellent movies. Look at Devil (2010) or Cube (1997), both are limited in space or sets, yet produced good movies. Thing is, unlike this one, there was more of a script to help the film. 

Overall, a few cool or nice looking scenes get outweighed by the long boring run time. Then throw in into the mix that it's a horror flick with a less than imaginative monster. The few plusses this one has just doesn't make this one worth watching. Unless... you're a fan of tunnels, cause you'll find plenty of those here.

It's rated UR (unrated) but has language and violence.

I'm going to let this one crawl away and die with 1 star.


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