Creature Feature “They Crawl Beneath” lacks the teeth to create above ground worry.

Now, I am all for practical effects, especially when it comes to creature movies, but if practical effects are going to be the difference maker between having a creature movie with a creature and not, then I would much prefer CGI or another form of creating the creature. On top of that, if what the director and writer is trying to achieve is a weird cross between The Deadly Spawn and Tremors, then by all means go for it, but don’t just loosely be inspired by these two (arguably) cult classics and make your own thing that is far less creature and more survivalist horror. While I admire what director Dale Fabrigar and writer Tricia Aurand try to accomplish in They Crawl Beneath, what they manage to pull off is something so underwhelming and underperforming that it leaves an aftertaste in audiences’ mouths that is rather gross.

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L-R: Michael Paré as Uncle Bill and Joseph Almani as Danny in THEY CRAWL BENEATH.

The movie focuses on Danny (Joseph Almani), a cop who decides to visit his Uncle Bill (Michael Paré) to restore a vintage car. However, an earthquake hits the small city and the hitch that Danny and Bill placed to lift the car up fails, killing Bill and trapping Danny who starts to really make the audience question how he is a cop with his survivalist skills being so minimal and mundane. Trapped now under a car, with a near-dead phone and having made some horrifically questionable choices prior to his phone dying, he is fighting for his life. While he isn’t entirely sure how he’s going to survive, he realizes he’s not alone. There is a worm- like creature similar to one that bit his Uncle Bill prior. Danny had captured that first worm-like creature and gave to his girlfriend, Gwen (Karlee Eldridge), who brought it to a scientist to investigate. They discovered that something about this creature is not from this world, or at least is not known of yet. Now stuck, pinned under a car, in the heat, worrying about his survival, Danny is hitting a psychological break while this creature lingers and puts his life in further jeopardy.

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Joseph Almani as Danny in THEY CRAWL BENEATH.

As I previously mentioned, this movie is in the vein of The Deadly Spawn and Tremors where an alien-esque parasitic creature is stalking our protagonist. However, in both those aforementioned movies, the creature is certainly prominent, and it feels like they were made with the sole intention of becoming underground cult classics. Whether that was the intention at the time of them being made or not is another debate, but, alas, They Crawl Beneath lacks the depth of creature(s) to be interesting and captivating, lacks performances that are not laugh out loud ridiculous, and ultimately lacks intrigue. It becomes a very standard run-of-the-mill paranoia survival movie with elements of creatures. While it doesn’t reinvent the wheel, it also doesn’t add any new tread or traction to the already rundown tire.

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A scene from THEY CRAWL BENEATH.

When a movie almost solely hinges on a lead character, the hope is that lead character can carry the movie to new depths and direction that hasn’t been seen before, or, if it has, at least creates new intrigue and passion for the audiences to invest into the character. Unfortunately, the performance by Joseph Almani completely misses the mark. His performance is so hollow, and uninspired and just rather bland. He doesn’t bring anything interesting to the role and lacks the charisma and the presence to make the audience care about the character. Karlee Eldridge provides one of the most laugh out loud moments of the film that, in all honesty, the film needed. While her performance is hollow and rather meandering, similarly to Joseph’s, it is her nonchalant delivery of lines and material that is so hilarious it gives audiences something to enjoy throughout the otherwise middling film. They Crawl Beneath takes a swing for the fences but lets go of the bat as it flails through the stadium, causing everyone to panic and run for their lives. After everyone realizes it was a freak accident, and no harm is done, it’s a funny situation to laugh at, but the whole experience leaves a rather sour note left in your mouth.

Final Score: 2 out of 5.

Available on Blu-ray, DVD, and digital October 4th, 2022.

For more information, head to Well Go USA’s official They Crawl Beneath webpage.

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Categories: Home Release, Home Video, Recommendation, Reviews, streaming

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