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From the Desk of the Unimonster...

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03 July, 2010

The Unimonster's Crypt Presents-The Junkyardfilms.com's Moldie Oldie Movie of the Month: THEY CRAWL


Year of Release—Film: 2001

Detective Gina O'Bannion (Tamara Davies), a tough as nails LA cop, is assigned by Captain Righetti (Bennet Guillory) to work on the Trillion murders case. It seems several bodies have been found with severe burn marks and punctures and missing all their internal organs. The Trillion Cult's MO is human disembowelment. Hindering Det. O'Bannion's work is her fellow detective, Det. Hardy (William Keane) who steals her ideas and presents them as his own. Aiding Det. O'Bannon is Ted Gage, who is currently waiting military court marshal for punching an officer. Ted Gage's brother is one of the murder victims. Little do they know that the true culprits behind these strange murders is one man, Lazarus (Brandon Karrer) and his band of mind-controlled killer cockroaches!

As the body count increases, the crusading duo discovers a secret government plot involving encrypted emails from a mysterious source that also involves two students of a local community college and Tiny Frakes (Mickey Rourke), a Trillion cult member. After recovering some encrypted emails from his dead brother's computer, Ted goes to fellow student Shane Torian (Scott Rinker) for help in breaking the encryption code and they discover it's a blueprint for a giant cockroach! Confused, Ted approaches Prof. Jurgen (Dennis Boutsikaris), who tells Ted he will try to find some information on the mysterious Lazarus.

Meanwhile, Det. O'Bannion is investigating the strange death of an exterminator (Tim Thomerson) who is discovered burned and disemboweled and whose body has been moved post-mortem. Tiny bits of uncooked rice are caught in the folds of his clothes. Was it the Trillion Cult? Det. Hardy thinks so, pointing out the cult's mark on the ceiling above the body. Unnoticed, a single cockroach crawls up his pant leg.

The Prof calls Ted and tells him he can find Lazarus at a street address he provides and Ted with Det. O'Bannion in tow, go to the address but their back-up police car beats them there and the two cops are blown to bits when the open the house's front door. This odd coincidence lands Ted in lock-up and Det. O'Bannion is chewed out by her Captain, who threatens to suspend her. However, he explains that he needs all of his officers on the street until the killer or killers are found! A Press conference is called and as the Captain soothes a ruffled Press corps, Det. Hardy begins thrashing around and collapses dead on the floor, a single cockroach crawls out of his ear.

The test results are in and Det. O'Bannion and Ted discover that the uncooked rice is from a wharf warehouse in San Pedro. The exterminator had been there on the day his body was discovered! Finely, a clue to what may have caused his death! The detecting duo along with the LA coroner Glen (Ken Lerner) dash to the warehouse to discover a man loading large boxes into a truck. Telling the loading dock worker they will have to inspect the boxes, they are told they must first get permission from the warehouse foreman inside. Upon entering the building, they discover Prof. Jurgen bound and gagged. As Det. O'Bannion and Ted assist the Prof., Lazarus walks in and points a gun at Coronor Glen's head, demanding that Ted and the Detective stop what they are doing and surrender their guns. Lazarus tells the captured foursome that he IS TRILLION and that he and his 60 trillion cockroaches will rule the World! Then, he shoots Coroner Glen in the head and demands that Ted and Det. O'Bannion get into a large crate filled with live cockroaches. Disgusted, Ted kicks a hole in the side of the crate and thousands of cockroaches spill.

Ted grabs his surrendered gun, Det. O'Bannion grabs hers and all three enter into gunplay. However, they are all terrible shots and never once hit their intended targets. Lazarus makes good his escape in the half-loaded truck with Ted clinging to the side. Det. O'Bannion again attempts to rescue Prof Jurgen but finds him covered and devoured by thousands of cockroaches. The cockroaches turn on her and, despite her shooting at them repeatedly, swarm over her body. Ted, having stopped Lazarus' escape, runs to help Det. O'Bannion but it is too late! Or is it! Lazarus runs into the warehouse and is shot repeatedly by the detective who has somehow hoisted herself up on a chain-fall. As Ted helps the detective down, all the cockroaches begin to mingle and form a massive single cockroach! Det. O'Bannion tries to shoot the monster roach to no avail. Ted gets the escape truck and, holding down the gas pedal with a rod, aiming it at the giant roach, lets it run smack into it, sending it to insect heaven! Ted and the detective embrace! The End.

While reading the imdb reviewer's comments, I was struck by how many of them practically begged the reader to drink while watching this movie. Unfortunately, I did not listen. Tamera Davies plays her role of the tough-as-nails lead detective like someone who has had a personality by-pass. William Keane as Det Hardy needs anger management classes! Daniel Cosgrove can't decide between angst and anger so plays both interchangeably at a moment's notice. Although the box lists Mickey Rourke in a starring role, he's in this all of two or three minutes and plays his role like someone after a quick paycheck. The only actor in this who did a half-way decent acting job was Timothy Roberts as the card shark. He deserved to be in this movie more than his five-minute role. While the explosions and car crashes were excellent, the CGI on the cockroaches would have made the SYFY channel proud! As they swarmed across the floors and walls, they resembled a moving mass of a gray or brown oily substance...without individual form. And, for a movie that advertises hoards of invading cockroaches, there was only one real, live roach in the whole movie!

So, readers, I guess it's true. Some movies require imbibing large quantities of alcohol just to make it through. So, if you must watch THEY CRAWL, despite my warning, lay in some liquid refreshments. You won't be sorry!


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