Let’s be honest. THE CRAWLERS sucks. Hard. But so did TROLL 2, and that’s got something of a cult following now BECAUSE of its hard suckiness. So where’s the love for THE CRAWLERS? Well I, for one, bet it would get a lot more attention – and a DVD release – if it were actually called TROLL 3 to capitalize on the fans of 1 and 2. Or maybe they could market it as "THE HAPPENING without Zooey Deschanel.” Either way, you just KNOW this movie’s gonna be fun when its default internet synopsis goes like this:
“Evil nuclear power plant manager is dumping nuclear waste in a forest. People start getting killed. Drunken PhD in power plant starts tracking radiation in the forest. More people killed. Newspaper reporter and local boy and girl start investigating. Still more people killed. Townspeople try to remove nuclear waste. Yet more people killed. EPA cleans up the mess with bulldozers.”
Really? Is it THAT simple? No trolls, no goblins, no Nilbogs, and not even things that fucking crawl? And it’s all cleaned up by the EPA with bulldozers? How can you possibly fill 90 minutes with THAT? Well shit, if Dana Carvey can make a full-length film, then surely these kids can stretch out this air-thin plot for an hour and a half, right? Well now, let’s see how they did it…
It helps that the first death in the film doesn’t take place until 17 minutes in. Something slithers and, well, CRAWLS through the grass and somehow manages to knock out a girl by grabbing her ankles. Which, if you think about it, probably explains how Vern Troyer gets laid. Mind you, the movie never tells you how these tiny fuckers KILL, but in the movie all the trees started spinning around a lot, so maybe they make their victims so dizzy they pass out. They certainly don’t HARM their victims much, because after Victim 1 falls, she's seen being dragged away without so much as a scratch on her body. Dude, I got two words that would make this all a LOT easier. Form, and Chloro, and not necessarily in that order.
Okay, so the IMDB spoiler synopsis has already clued you in as to who is behind these killings – tree roots – and why – evil nuclear power plant droppings are changing the trees into bloodthirsty killers craving human flesh. All that’s left for you is to, y'know, actually buy into this bullshit. In the meantime, you can enjoy the crack makeup department’s gore FX, and the kind of epic bad acting that made TROLL 2 such a hoot. There’s a great sheriff in THE CRAWLERS who’s REAL voice musta sucked so bad because EVERY one of his lines is overdubbed. And that includes such gems as “Ahhh, you kids, you get my GOAT!” Then there’s the evil power plant director himself, who seems to spend his entire day on the phone and, for some reason, can’t seem to stop bobbing up and down every time he delivers a line. I mean, this dude is a living, breathing bobblehead doll.
Thankfully, even plant roots know a shit actor when they see one, so they eventually go after the sheriff, who starts screaming like a schoolgirl when he’s attacked. And for all we know, they might BE the screams of a schoolgirl overdubbed on the audio track. Then we get a low-budget but still pretty damn effective FX shot of a root pushing THROUGH HIS FACE that’s one for the gore hounds. A grandmother gets killed a few minutes later (her screams are overdubbed too), and finally the forest ranger or somebody comes by in a helicopter. And what has to be one of the most outlandish scenes in the entire TROLL trilogy (and if you’ve seen 1 and 2, you KNOW that’s saying something), the plant roots actually ATTACK the helicopter and BRING THE FUCKING HELICOPTER DOWN! Great. Just what we needed. JAWS for the horticulture set.
Amazingly enough, the giant radioactive bloodthirsty flesh-craving girl-dragging granny-munching tree roots from Hell are brought to a rather anticlimactic demise when a trio of bulldozers suddenly appears on the scene and simply starts plowing down the forest. So yeah, the threat of complete and total human destruction via plant life is thwarted by a fucking road crew. As to exactly WHY Satan’s root farm is able to drag down a helicopter in flight but turns into Glee Club pansies at the sight of a John Deere remains as much a mystery as why any straight man would ever buy a She and Him CD.
Thankful that the roots have finally been vanquished and peace has been restored to the tiny town despite the death of the sheriff who never used his own voice, our heroine grabs a phone and starts making calls to boys she hasn’t been able to hang out with while all this radioactive plant murder stuff’s been going on. But while she’s chatting on the phone, her Christmas tree, on its own, suddenly begins to shake…
Sadly for the world, there wasn’t to be a CRAWLERS 2: AWAY IN A MANGLER or even a TROLL 4 for that matter. But then again, in keeping with the spirit of the series, it wouldn’t HAVE to be about trees. It could be about killer spatulas. Or radioactive adult diapers. Whatever, I’d still rent it because it would be a guaranteed good time. Unless Zooey Deschanel was in it. Thank God they haven’t gone THERE yet.
If you’ve seen TROLLS 1 and 2, you owe it to yourself to pick up THE CRAWLERS and fire up that old Hitachi VCR once more. Good crappy B-movie fun with some well-meaning gore, actors deemed too sucky to be in TROLL 2, and a tree taking down a fucking HELICOPTER forgodsake! For that alone, I give it three Kari’s.
FAST FORWARDING TO THE GOOD PARTS
00:17 – Herve Villechaize’s first kill! Death by ankle grab!
00:30 – What happens when you get killed by radioactive tree roots. You become a radioactive girl with skin like tree bark. In other words, Heidi Fleiss.
00:43 – More death by tree root. Or, in this case, overacting.
1:02 – The gore shot. Or what it would look like if a root tried to PUSH its way THROUGH your head. In other words, like Heidi Fleiss.
1:07 – The radioactive roots kill a helpless old grandmother. “I’ve fallen, and I can’t get out of this movie!”
1:22 – The old trite Hollywood cliché scene where a bunch of giant snakelike radioactive completely mobile tree roots grab hold of a helicopter and bring it crashing down to Earth. Really, how many TIMES do we have to see this?