Back in 1966, not content with Area 51, America decided to collaborate with Australia and develop a covert facility in the outback called Pine Gap. Essentially a prison with the added bonus of secure laboratories for government employed elite scientists to perform their experiments; the underground institution had remained a secret - until now that is. All contact with the facility has been lost so an Aussie military team have been assembled to enter the subversive base and basically wipe out the prisoners who they have been led to believe are running amok.

Regaining consciousness amid the bloodied chaos, including strewn body parts, is a stunning female detainee (Amber Clayton). Her concussion has apparently scrambled her memory and her only clues to her own identity is her partly shaved scalp exhibiting freshly administered stitches and a strange heavy duty metal cuff with the name ‘Eve’ etched onto it.

Headed by Romeo (Ditch Davey) and comprising of Fourpack (Eddie Baroo), Wiki (Peta Sergeant) and Kid (Fletcher Humphries) the team are briefed about their prey before entering. They easily despatch the first couple of inmates but when Romeo comes face to face to ‘Eve’ he wavers the opportunity to fill her with the contents of his machine gun.

Understandably perplexed at Romeo’s hesitation, his team are eager to follow orders and eliminate her. But Romeo has a revelation for them. Although confused, he admits to a very intimate history with the target. She used to be… his wife! Even with tensions and confusion swelling among the soldiers, there is no time to think as Kid see’s what he believes the experimental wing of the facility is used for when a hybrid beast comes bounding toward him. Has this unit been used to manipulate the genetics of life on Earth? Or is it the home of something far more hazardous? When the band finally run into the a group of scientists whom their orders insist they save, disclosures of biomechanics and human brain re-grafting leaves the militia under no illusions that the fate of the world is potentially in their hands…

It’s an intriguing and indeed clever choice of title for this cracking little exercise is Sci Fi horror I have to say. Admittedly there were a couple of claustrophobic tunnelling sequences, but even so, the essence of CRAWLSPACE’s narrative was for more complex than simply scrambling away from beasts on the loose.

It was in many ways a marvellously hallucinogenic movie that was full of twists and turns and rife with tension for the full duration. The notion that every world leader had a ‘psychic blocker’ to protect them from ‘psychic combat’ was for the most part original take on conspiracies, yet not too much of a head fuck that you couldn’t follow with a fair amount of ease.

The storyline evolved at a healthy pace and was peppered with surprises right up until the final frames all of which was helped by regular spurts of action and gore to make the 83 minute run time fly by. If you like exploding heads in the vein of SCANNERS, medical cranium bone saws used for self-harm along with the odd frenzied suicide, I am pretty sure you will find Justin Dix’s movie entertaining.

The characters were also bearable at least! Yes there were shades of the testosterone driven banter but the overly macho pap that usually robs the characters of any kind of substance in military driven Sci Fi horror was largely omitted.

The disc itself had some outstanding attributes. Starting with the audio, the menu screen offers both 5.1 and 2.0 options. The movie wasted no time in working all of my speakers. Speech was clear, meaty explosions created a hearty rumble with the help of the subwoofer while the rears helped convey the whir of helicopters, gas mask breathing and even the subtle drips of water (and blood!). It all combined to give an appropriate aural assault.

Visually the disc was also up to the task. Considering the vast majority of the movie was in the dimly lit corridors of the compromised security complex, all the action was abundantly clear and sharp.

The only "Extra" to speak of was a slickly produced 30 minute feature titled INSIDE THE CRAWLSPACE. It went beyond the usual gesture of onset interviews to delve into the movies formation. Starting by talking to the writer and director Justin Dix, the mini documentary went on to showcase some great concept artwork before talking to Executive Producer Greg Mclean. His confession that he and Justin were both "Star Wars Nerds" maybe shed some light as to why Clayton was cast as Eve as she strikes me as a Natalie Portman lookalike. No bad thing I have to say!

The feature then gives each actor is given the chance to express what attracted them to the project. Liking the script is one thing but the fact they had team meetings to develop their roles and iron out any discrepancies appeared to have helped them really respect the movies narrative. Onto the ‘making of’ segment, gore effects, fight choreographies and even dog phobias, INSIDE… was a great bit of bonus material that went beyond a self-indulgent commentary track.

If you are a fan of Sci Fi horror I am sure you will have a blast with CRAWLSPACE on this competently put together DVD.

Review by Marc Lissenburg

Released by Revolver Entertainment
Region 2 PAL
Rated 18
Extras :
see main review