Crawlspace (2013) *1/2
D: Josh Stolberg
C: Raleigh Holmes, Lori Loughlin, Sterling Beaumon, Jonathan Silverman, Steven Weber, Xander Stolberg, Shannon Welles, Leila Leigh, Nikki Moore, David Koechner, Paul James
Plot Synopsis: The Gates family dream house turns quickly into a nightmare when their life is disturbed by the deranged previous owner who plots to retake his home and the Gates children for his own.
Review: An attractive looking family finds their dream house. There's just one catch. They have to deal with a psycho first. We've all seen this type film before. The writers know it. The producers know it. That's why they play up to this whole crawlspace angle. The purpose is two fold. The first one being that it will give the film a gimmick that they can market. The second being that they think this whole crawlspace shtick will make it seem different from others of its kind. It doesn't work.
Crawlspace is another generic film that looks & feels like a made for TV movie that airs on Lifetime. Unsurprisingly, the director got his start in TV and continued to work there for nearly 15 years. There's nothing outright terrible about the production values, but the direction, the lighting, the camera placements, the use of sound - it's all rather bland & nondescript, much like the principal location.
The cast is filled with various TV personalities, including Lori Loughlin (Full House) & Steven Weber (Wings). From a cast perspective, Loughlin & Weber are going to be the drawing cards. Too bad they aren't given much to do. In fact, the characters aren't so much characters, but various arch types: the college student who wants to stop being treated like a kid, the quirky little brother who also happens to be a virgin, the strict father who wants to make a better life for his family, the mom who uses words such as honey, dear & sweety, the creepy neighbor who creeps about, etc. etc. The only one who's able to put any sort of personality into their role is Sterling Beaumon as the aforementioned brother. The kid's got talent & screen presence. I hope he pursues a film career vs a TV career. I have a sneaking suspicion that in the TV medium, Beaumon would be typecast in quirky roles.
Anyway, talking about the film and the material at hand, they try and spice it up. There's a sex scene that comes out of nowhere. There's brief nudity that comes across as gratuitous. There's bloodshed, even a hint of gore. Crawlspace contains enough R Rated elements for showings on a pay channel such as Showtime, but not so much that couldn't edit them out in a jiffy for an airing on a cable channel such as Syfy, Chiller or Lifetime.
It's TV formula filmmaking 101. Familiar faces? Check. Familiar premise slightly repackaged? Check. Content that can be manipulated for either a TV14 or R rating? Check. This is type of movie that's been made on an assembly line; the type that's been made with the bottom line in mind. It's a product vs actual entertainment. [Not Rated] 90 minutes.
AKA: The Attic
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