Yes, They Nest was a stupid film, but it did at least have a couple of very good squirmy moments – stuff we felt if not privileged to have seen, then at least slightly sickened by. They Crawl, I’m sad to report, doesn’t. Close reading of the credits reveals no connection in terms of cast and crew (not even SFX or stunts) between the two films, meaning there’s just a personal pronoun in common, just the They. And insects, of course. However, They Crawl does hit us with two recognisable names – Tone Loc and Mickey Rourke. But fans of the Funky Cold Medina star and the one-time contender who went off to be a boxer and lost most of his looks and savvy shouldn’t get too excited – this is “blink and miss it” cameo work.
Leaving… what? A government engineered cockroach monster that’s munching its way through as many C-list actors as the producers can afford, while some lone intrepid guy (Daniel Cosgrove) investigates what happened to his brother. Was the brother involved in some shady cult? What has the government to do with it all? Are big insects really involved? And why does an attractive cop (Tamara Davies) who actually believes this guy’s bug-eyed story have so much free police time to help him? Leaving aside the suspicion that the answers to all these questions are to be found round the back of the production offices where X Files script meetings were held, They Crawl would be a much better film with its creepy-crawly moments spread between fewer victims, with less reliance on Foundation Imaging’s step-and-repeat insect effects but most of all from even 20 minutes more work done on the screenplay.
© Steve Morrissey 2001