In the wake of the massive success of JAWS in 1975, a host of rip-offs, imitators, and follow up movies came to pass in an attempt to take a bite out of a market that was hungry for killer sea creatures. Hence such films as Orca, Piranha, and Tentacles. The trend has continued to this day with memetic successes like Sharktopus and Sharknado. While sharks have often been the point of inspiration among other marine life, what if it was something a little more… unexpected?
The story follows a small coastal town as it’s getting ready for its big prom night. Handicapped teen genius Phillip (Dylan Riley Snyder) and his closest friend and maybe more Maddie (Allie Jennings) are working on a big science project that could both get them out of their small town humdrum and get Phillip back on his feet- literally. But something is about to crash the party. A horde of nuclear waste mutated killer HORSESHOE CRABS! And these little bastards have a hunger for human flesh as they grow larger and more powerful. It’s up to Phillip and his ragtag group of family and friends to stomp out the horseshoe crabs, before it’s too late!
Often, in independent film, it is recommended to ‘work within your means’ and I can definitely say that director/writer Pierce Berolzheimer went above and beyond in that department. Sure, it’s low budget and crammed to the gills with CGI, but it shows a substantial amount of passion for one goofy as hell creature feature. Plus, the little Gremlin and Critters style Crab shenanigans were rather endearing. Especially when one of the horseshoe crabs takes over a turntable and starts to DJ! The practical FX and puppetry between the little crabs and the mutated human sized crabs stand out and fit the movie’s style.
The plot is as basic as it gets in terms of monster movies with the mutated beasts attacking on a significant date. In this case, prom night. The cast of characters are nice, if a little stock. Such as Phillips older deputy brother Hunter (Bryce Durfee) and the usual surly locals. The stand-out character is the foreign exchange student Radu (Chase Padgett) a well meaning but cowardly teen who first encounters the killer crabs and fails to convince people of their existence due to his eccentricities and heavy accent. Leading to him getting the last word in the form of a credit’s song!
CRABS! is a movie that knows exactly what movie it is and what it’s trying to be. A low-brow creature feature with killer horseshoe crabs, wacky characters, and ample amounts of blood and gore. And that’s great! Definitely a step above the usual direct to video monster schlock and with an audience already built in. And without spoilers, Crabs! features an explosive finale you won’t see coming!