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They Crawl
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by Scott Weinberg

"A Killer Cockroach movie that's oddly light on the Killer Cockraoches,"
1 stars

It’s important that any movie attempting to attack the old ‘nature runs amok’ cliché manage to shoehorn in something new or fresh or (at the very least) interesting. This keeps the viewers who are familiar with this type of movie (read: everyone movie fan in the known universe) from staring at their watches, falling fast asleep, or randomly kicking people nearby in an effort to stave off death by boredom.

They Crawl does find a little gimmick, a hook, an ‘outlandish subplot’ if you will – one that could capably support the background of a film in which genetically mutated cockroaches eat a few unsavory folks. Unfortunately, this subplot apparently got way out of hand and overwhelmed the movie entirely.

So what’s advertised as a film in which lots of people get eaten by bugs becomes a movie about industrial espionage, college professor platitudes, and a whole boatload of shamefully familiar X-Files - style shenanigans.

Cast-wise, there’s not much to recommend. The lead is Daniel Cosgrove (Van Wilder) and since I watched the movie last night and I can barely remember what the guy looks like, it’s safe to assume he didn’t make much of an impression. Soap opera star Tamara Davies is quite lovely to look at, and she’s actually a better actor than this junk deserves. (A little better, anyway.)

Keep your eyes peeled for lightning-fast appearances by Tone Loc, Tim Thomerson, and even the great unwashed himself: Mickey Rourke in a truly pointless and illogical cameo. Also worthy of note is Dennis Boutsikaris, who continues to propagate his uncanny impersonation of a ‘short, Jewish Al Pacino’ to every movie he appears in.

Not to fear, however; cockroaches eat people in LOTS of movies! If you’re looking for one that’s not the pinnacle of all things familiar and uninspired, check out Romero’s Creepshow or del Toros’ Mimic or even (for a truly bizarre treat) Michael Lehman’s Meet the Applegates! At least those flicks treat cockroaches with the proper cinematic respect they deserve. (Heck, even the similarly titled cable flick They Nest offers more mayhem!)

They Crawl promises lots of crawlies, and then sticks the buggy moments way in the background while a low-rent Mulder and Scully wander about the cheap-looking sets.

By the time the genetically mutated killer cockroaches get wise and morph into this giant rhino-lookin’ thing, you’ll be fast asleep.

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originally posted: 05/04/04 11:21:50
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  02-Apr-2001 (R)



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