the 1980’s, the Soviets really did launch an ambitious “remote viewing”
program, training psychic spies to watch and perhaps even read the American
President’s mind. It is hard to imagine
any hostile powers bothering with such efforts now, unless they had no other
access to the latest news from ESPN. Nonetheless,
the “technology” was taken seriously and it is about to blow up in the face of
a clandestine Australian research institute, becoming the Macguffin of Justin
Dix’s Crawlspace (trailer here), which debuts on
VOD and begins a series of midnight screenings at the IFC Center beginning this
Echo Companies 1, 2, and 3 are
approaching the double-secret Pine Gap facility buried beneath the Australian
desert (where there are no pine trees).
They have two missions: terminate the dangerous inmates let loose during
a power failure and rescue the scientific personnel. It seems like it is a bad idea to combine a
maximum security prison with a research lab, so maybe these prisoners are not
whom they are billed to be. Oddly
enough, one of them also appears to be the late wife of company leader Romeo, who
apparently harbors a wee bit of guilt over her assumed death.
Much to his team’s surprise, Romeo goes
rogue, deciding to protect E.V.E., as her wristband identifies her, rather than
fulfill their mission objectives. This
becomes particularly awkward when the monsters start attacking. It is not until they “rescue” a truly
annoying group of scientists that the psychic battle unfolding around them is
insufficiently explained. What does that
make Eve? Dangerous.
The directorial debut of SFX artist Dix,
Crawlspace liberally incorporates
narrative elements from the original Alien
and Solaris, but little of their
artistry. It is long on atmosphere
though, taking viewers through air ducts, service tunnels, and all manner of
passages requiring grown men to stoop. There
are also several distinctively gruesome deaths for those who measure genre
films by such standards.
Again, Crawlspace’s cast might not earn marks for distinction, but they get
the job done. While not remarkably
expressive, Ditch Davey (a name so awesome it must be Australian) is
appropriately manly as Romeo. Strangely,
both Peta Sargeant and Ngaire Dawn Fair exhibit more cinematic presences (as
Wiki the commando and Emily the psychic blocker, respectively) than Eve, the
pseudo-romantic co-lead, but Amber Clayton can at least act twitchy and roll
her eyes back in her head when necessary.
is no genre classic but it is entertaining in a
Big-Mac-with-fries kind of way. Basically,
it is heavily armed people going nuts in confined spaces. Horror movie fans, particularly those with a
taste for flicks with a light sci-fi seasoning, should have at it this Friday
(1/4) when it screens Midnights at the IFC Center and hits VOD platforms.
Labels: Australian cinema, Horror Movies, Remote Viewing