Director Dale Fabrigar reunites with screenwriter Tricia Aurand for another horror film in They Crawl Beneath from Well Go USA Entertainment. Young police officer Danny (Joseph Almani) experienced a traumatic event as a child and is attempting to win back his girlfriend Gwen (Karlee Eldridge).
One day he is working on an antique car at his Uncle Bill's (Michael Pare) remote ranch when a major earthquake hits, pinning him under the vehicle and leaving him bloodied, alone, and with no way to call for help. When he thinks the claustrophobic nightmare can't get any worse, something genuinely horrifying emerges from the fissures in the ground, forcing Danny to engage in a brutal fight for his life and his sanity.
They Crawl Beneath beings with a flashback scene before jumping straight into our premise. Kudos to the script for not wasting a ton of time on the unnecessary backstory. Anytime there is a movie with limited actors and possibly a cramped set, it's a risky but interesting idea. For the most part, the film takes place in the garage. However, there are a few scenes in other locations here and there.
The acting in the film doesn't require much, with the slight supporting cast tapping into the necessary character templates a creature feature like this needs. Karlee Eldridge also elevates her character above the love interest. Furthermore, it's always great to see Michael Pare on screen, who I've been a fan of since the eighties.
In essence, the film rests on the shoulders of Joseph Almani. The actor convinces by alternating between nervousness and despair, going through a roller coaster of feelings. Throughout the short run time, I had a general investment in his character's struggle. I also liked that our lead was accompanied by a cell phone, a firearm, and a few other items as he tried to escape.
Finally, regarding the effects of the creatures, I commend the filmmakers for using practical effects instead of CGI. They Crawl Beneath is the second film by Dale Fabrigar, and writer Tricia Aurand knows precisely what kind of movie it is. The film is just a decent homage to the fifties-style creature feature.
Final Grade: C+
THEY CRAWL BENEATH hits Digital, Blu-ray & DVD on October 4.