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Bad Movie Tuesday: Crawlers (1993; aka Contamination .7), perhaps the worst killer tree movie in the market.

May 28, 2019

MY CALL: This movie is terrible. I was so bored… MORE MOVIES LIKE Crawlers: Watch Ticks (1993) or Mosquito (1994) if you want to see radioactive nature turn on mankind in a really fun B-movie. The Happening (2008), Seed People (1992), The Guardian (1990) and Evil Dead (2013) aren’t the only films boasting trees you wouldn’t want in your front yard… but they’re all way better than Crawlers!

Josie (Mary Sellers; Stage Fright, Ghosthouse) returns to her hometown after a long absence and her timing couldn’t possibly be worse. The IMDB summary tells it all: “People from a small town are attacked by evil radioactive tree roots growing in the forest.” This is dangerously honest. Because it’s just the roots!

Directors Fabrizio Laurenti (Witchery) and veteran Joe D’Amato (Zombi 5)—neither of whom have their real names attached to this film—team up to make this incredibly uninspired 90s video-era horror complete with horrendous writing, awful acting, and almost nothing interesting happening on-screen. It’s quintessentially everything that was wrong with horror in the 90s.

Lame POV shots scuttling through the weeds may garner anticipation of some hokey B-movie fun, but the best you’ll find is a being dragged across the forest floor and you won’t even see what’s doing the dragging (i.e., the evil roots). In fact, even when the locals discover the body of a victim, it just looks like someone tossed some dirt on the actress as she played dead with not even a drop of fake blood to be found—not until the coroner scene when we find a laughable wound on her face.

The “better” effects show more lackluster root-inflicted wounds. We’ll eventually see some cursory (aka, craptastic) attacking-root effects akin to a bad actor being constricted by a rubber snake and, subsequently, some choppy stop-motion roots in terrible attack scenes. Most of the effects boil down to someone swinging a root prop (off-camera) at the actor (on-screen). There was a weak effects scene (but the best in the movie) in which a root penetrates someone’s eye. The scene used a latex head prop and wasn’t impressive… but if there was ten times more it would have made this so much more watchable, silly and even enjoyable. Sigh.

It’s truly illustrative of how abysmally low the budget must have been (I’m guessing whatever was in the directors’ wallets) that there were so few gore scenes (even crappy ones), and that our man-eating radioactive tree monsters were reduced to flailing rubber tendrils. Sad. Just sad. I’d send them a check if it meant getting an evil tree face eating a screaming victim.

This is far from any manner of fun B-movie quality and royally boring. Don’t watch it.

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