One of the best things about Indie horror is the free range a lot of the filmmakers have to create movies around concepts that would make mainstream movie-goers scratch their heads. I don’t mean mainstream as a derogatory term at all but more to draw a distinction between the kind of person who hears “Bulldozer that kills people” and doesn’t roll their eyes. Well okay maybe most people still do. Crazy or not that is the plot of Crawler.
Crawler was released in 2009 and directed and written by Sv Bell. Robbie Ribspreader ( I guess that’s his real name?) also contributed with writing It was produces by Blackflag Pictures. The film stars Deke Richard, Heidi Hawkins and Keir Cutler.
Now when I say it’s about B\bulldozer that kills people I’m not being entirely accurate because the thing in question isn’t actually a bulldozer at all but a “glamour djin” which is apparently an evil entity that has the ability to “look like something else” apparently for the last few decades it’s taken the form of a piece of construction equipment.
The film starts off with a guy coming in to rent a bulldozer for a construction job that needs to be done but sadly he was a day late so the dozer he was going to get had already been rented out. This is the kind of situation that dooms the lives of characters in horror movies. Sure enough after enough begging the construction worker convinces a clerk to rent him out this mysterious bulldozer that had a tarp on it that says not to rent it ever. People never read tarps.
Enter our hero Jimmy (Richards) who is the sites foreman, he has a troubled past and looking to do right. It looks like his past is catching up to him though because somebody deeply affected by that past mistake Karl (Cutler) is also on site. The two seem to share an uneasy truce until people start going missing. Eventually all hell breaks when the bulldozer starts picking off victims through various means and Karl seems to be completely under the bloodthirsty equipments power.
So whether this bulldozer is a demon or an alien or some thing from another dimension is never really specified but its pretty evil. The film itself shares a lot of elements of Stephen Kings Christine, you know the story about the car that kills people. This movie has that in common but the dozer itself has all kinds of creepy living components, like mouth tentacles that reminded me of Tremors, and probably the grossest ability which is to infect others with some sort of painful virus.
Cutler is really good in his role and was easily my favorite character in the film. He becomes obsessed with the bulldozer and worships it like some sort of dark god. The addition of his character goes a long way to putting some kind of face on the enemy who could at least communicate with other characters.
The special effects on this movie are well done. I really enjoyed all of the practical effects that were used, from the tendrils to the bulldozer itself. Plus the slow infection of one of the construction workers were fantastically disgusting once you got to the final shot of him bloated and spewing out black sludge.
I’d say the problems with the movie come from the plot itself. I know the premise is weird enough on its own but I thought a little more explanation on a few things would have helped. For example, they never really explain why the dozer was “sleeping”. It was just sitting there in the rental lot with a tarp over it. As soon as the tarp comes off it starts killing people and goes to the job-site itself? How did the bulldozer know where to go? Another thing was that the entity or whatever it was seemed to random powers. Like it could infect people, take over their minds, project images into their heads, reanimate the dead and shoot lighting. Of course it also had all the benefits of being a giant bulldozer with mouth tendrils. Although, now that I think about it I really shouldn’t waste too much time trying to pick apart the plot holes in a movie about a killer bulldozer.
I found sort of strange how serious the movie took itself. It`s not a complaint really but I guess because of the concept I was expecting it to be one of those self aware horror comedies. I don’t mind that really because honestly this wave of self aware horror really is getting old. It’s almost as if you can’t make a cheesy movie without making sure you’re winking to the audience every five minutes.
As I said before the best thing Independent horror has to offer audiences are more “out there” concepts. I don’t think a day goes by that I don’t get into a conversation with people about how much they dislike all the remakes, prequels and sequels that Hollywood churns out. Some people go so far as to say that creativity doesn’t exist in cinema. My flat response to that is that maybe you’re just watching the wrong movies. Sv Bell and Blackflag Pictures have made something that blends a lot of horror elements together and did it well and is a worthy addition to the growing genre of “things that randomly kill people”. Crawler is a hell of an entertaining ride that you should check out.