Movie Review: The Girl in the Crawlspace (2018)

September 4, 2018

Written by DanXIII

Daniel XIII; the result of an arcane ritual involving a King Diamond album, a box of Count Chocula, and a copy of Swank magazine, is a screenwriter, director, producer, actor, artist, and reviewer of fright flicks…Who hates ya baby?

Ever wonder what psychological toll being the “final girl” of a mass murdering psycho would take on a soul? Well the new film from first time director John Oak Dalton titled The Girl in the Crawlspace shows us just that scenario.
Jill (Erin R. Ryan) is the lone survivor of the Crawlspace Killer; a real sick ticket that keeps his victims bound in a crawlspace and engages them with psychological torture. Jill wanders the town, homeless and wraith like…a broken porcelain doll in human form. Enter psychiatrist Kristen (Joni Durian), who has recently moved back to town, along with her unsuccessful screenwriter husband Johnny (John Hambrick), who soon takes on trying to integrate Jill back into normal society at the behest of the town sheriff , as her husband tries to fit in with the locals by joining a local Dungeons and Dragons group out of desperation for human contact. Time passes and Jill begins to be integrated into the couple’s relationship and begins to heal slowly, but the Crawlspace Killer still stalks the streets, and he hasn’t forgotten Jill…
Full of a beautiful contrast of wide open and ultra-confined spaces, the emotional aftermath of a killer’s rampage (sans all of the blood and carnage associated with that type of affair), and the mounting tension of just what will happen when the maniac returns; The Girl in the Crawlspace is an interesting anomaly in the slasher genre (of which it is only tangentially related when all is said and done). The cinematography, acting of the leads, and overall story line are all rock solid, and the picture really moves along at a decent pace despite it’s dialog heavy nature. Speaking of dialog, writer/director John Oak Dalton has a real knack for dialog…the folks in this flick sound like the way your’s cruelly and his fiends chit-chat (in the nerd heavy scenes), and the more “heavy” scenes carry a real natural flow as well…which is instrumental in creating a real world feel.
As with every fright flick, there are of course a negatives tossed in with all that positivity up yonder. For one thing, this is definitely a “regional” horror pic. If you don’t know what that means, the long and short of it is that it’s definitely a product of where it was created (in this case Indiana), and if you are expecting the normal filmmaking style of slick L.A. and New York productions you will be in for  big surprise. Nowhere is this more evident then in the local talent utilized for the supporting and background characters in the film, especially actor Cherry; this dude is, in my opinion, fantastic, but he’s as far away from what audiences accustomed to Hollywood product would expect in a large role as you can get…so if you dig on only mega-budget fright flicks, this film could give ya a case of culture shock.
Full of gravitas, impassioned performances, and an impressive visual flare that makes the film appear much larger than one would expect for a lower budget flick, The Girl in the Crawlspace is a fascinating character study that illuminates a section of our beloved horror biz not often seen…the day after…and is an amazing debut for writer/director Oak Dalton!


Disclaimer: I work with the Producer/Cinematographer of the film regularly so there’s that…but as those that know me can attest; that makes me even more critical!

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