January 4, 2013 VOD
Justin Dix, Eddie Baroo, Adam Patrick Foster
Ditch Davey as Romeo
Amber Clayton as Eve
Peta Sergeant as Wiki
Eddie Baroo as Fourpack
Welcome to Pine Gap, Australia, where human experiments unravel in liberal fashion. Viewers immediately enter a claustrophobic world of chaos as we delve into the depths of an underground compound littered with human carnage and a tangible sense of disorientation. Dead bodies pile up, man-made mutations rampage through this mysterious military facility and everyone is playing mind games, fatal ones at that. the mentally weak are exiled in fatal fashion here, and not a damn thing is as it seems.
Upon first glimpse of a Crawlspace trailer, a voice echoed in this noggin, this is a movie you must see! As it turns out, my genre instincts proved reliable, for a change of pace. Crawlspace is a beautifully dicombobulating feature that leaves the wheels spinning upstairs at a rapid pace while summoning a few very eerie visuals to keep the eyeballs enlarged. A unique blend of physical and psychological horror carry the feature, and director Justin Dix’s (Justin actually has his hands deeply buried in this project handling writing duties, producing, production design and makeup in addition to directing) understanding of the importance of respecting the audience’s intelligence travels great lengths in ensuring the film is not only enjoyable, but intricate as well.
One can see some similarities to film’s like Resident Evil, Aliens, Doom and even Scanners, but there’s a bit of The City of Lost Children in here too. I doubt Dix would cite many, if any, of those films as inspiration, but certain elements of the film definitely conjure familiar memories. That said, this story is relatively original. The idea of experiments gone awry isn’t anything new, and neither is the examination of telepathic abilities and the abandonment, or (perhaps I should say) jumbling of sensory perception, but Crawlspace integrates a powerful subplot that separates it from other similarly themed productions.
The acting, I should note, is also surprisingly impressive. This is an ensemble that not only convinces on singular levels, but works quite well together. Spotting an out-of-place character or performer is challenging and that speaks testament to the time and care invested in this casting call. Amber Clayton is more than a gorgeous woman, she’s a refined performer who portrays a mentally tormented patient with a sinister side like you wouldn’t believe. She either studied this script religiously, or she’s a riveting woman away from the camera; Eve boasts a highly complex and moving persona. Ditch Davey does his part to counter the feminine dominance onscreen, tackling the “hero” role of Romeo with reckless abandon. He’s fully vested in the character, and dedicated to the idea of projecting his own brand of inner pain. Eddie Baroo and Peta Sergeant round out a memorable crew.
Crawlspace is the kind of picture that holds so many surprises and unorthodox spins that it’s tough to divulge too many details. You’ve been given a really, really loose idea of what the movie is all about, and to embellish any further will only hinder the first-time viewing experience. Know this, Crawlspace is action packed, bold, intelligent and crammed with awesome cinematography and taut scenes. It’s another homerun for Australia, as Crawlspace succeeds on countless levels; levels that often seem to go dismissed by American filmmakers. But it’s not just a homerun for Australia, it’s a homerun for Justin Dix as well, who has birthed a serious genre gem.