Crabs! (2021) poster

Crabs! (2021)


USA. 2021.


Director/Screenplay – Pierce M. Berolzheimer, Photography – Andrei Bowden Schwartz, Music – Mike Trebilcock, Visual Effects Supervisor – Kevin VanHook, Visual Effects – Rocket Monkey (Supervisor – Anthony Vu), Makeup Effects/Creature Effects – Ojala Productions, Special Effects Supervisor – Jim Ojala, Production Design – Angel Herrera.


Dylan Riley Snyder (Philip McCalister), Allie Jennings (Maddy Menrath), Jessica Morris (Annalise Menrath), Bryce Durfee (Hunter McCalister), Chase Padgett (Radu), Robert Craighead (Sheriff Flannigan), Dash Pomerantz (Sequoia), Kurt Carley (The Limulus and Mecha Shark), Justin Overlander (The Queen Crab), Steven P. Worthen (Pastor Beckett)


An explosion at a nuclear power plant causes horseshoe crabs to become killers eating human flesh. In the town of Mendocino, wheelchair-ridden Philip McCalister is a teenage inventor who lives with his older brother, the deputy Hunter. Philip’s best friend Maddy Menrath’s mother is his teacher and pushes Philip and Maddy to become dates to the prom. Philip builds a set of mechanised legs that can help him walk for the occasion. However, as the prom gets underway, it is overrun by the killer crabs that have mutated to humanoid size.

There is a whole body of films about animals turning on humanity. There was a fad for these in the 1970s with the likes of Frogs (1972), Rattlers (1976), Squirm (1976), Day of the Animals (1977), Dogs (1977), Kingdom of the Spiders (1977) and The Swarm (1978), among others. The genre has continued with assorted entries since then. I have an essay on the topic with Animals Attack Films. Going back to the 1950s, there was another whole fad for Giant Animal Films as part of the Atomic Monster Movie wherein regular sized animals were expanded to giant size usually by atomic radiation.

Crabs! is a throwback to these fads. It features regular size horseshoe crabs attacking humans. Atomic radiation is given as explanation for this in the form of a nuclear power plant explosion. Later in the film, we see that the crabs have taken on humanoid size and then even grown to giant humanoid proportions. We had previously had giant atomic crabs in Attack of the Crab Monsters (1957) and Island Claws (1980).

Crabs! also plants its tongue in cheek. Not quite to the deliberately silly extent that the recent Notzilla (2020) did, nevertheless there is a certain amusement to the proceedings. This becomes particularly the case in the later scenes of the film, while the images of Dylan Riley Snyder’s homemade Transformer going up against the giant crabs at the climax seems intended as a parody of the Japanese Monster Movie.

Dash Pomerantz in Crabs! (2021)
Dash Pomerantz with killer crab

That said, the comedy element is never played in any way that gets deliberately ridiculous or allows the cast to rupture the believability of their roles as say is the cast in the Sharknado sequels. In fact, it gets quite a reasonable conviction and even sweet affection out of seeing Dylan Riley Snyder go on his prom date and get together with Allie Jennings. There is a likeable line-up of characters, where the only off-note is that of Radu where Chase Padgett delivers his entire performance in a silly voice.

The film has the benefit of some very good creature effects. For the low-budget film that it is made on, the crab effects and the gore effects look far better than they should. In particular, the scenes near the end where the group drive through the town and watch a horde of humanoid crabs attacking and slaughtering the townspeople en masse are quite impressive. The only scenes that look a little ropy are the climactic ones with Dylan Riley Snyder’s homemade Transformer going up against the giant crabs.

Crabs! was a directorial debut for Pierce M. Berolzheimer.

Trailer here

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