Crawlspace (1986)

Directed by David Schmoeller [Other horror films: Tourist Trap (1979), Catacombs (1988), Puppet Master (1989), The Arrival (1991), Netherworld (1992), Possessed (2005), Little Monsters (2012), Puppet Master: Blitzkrieg Massacre (2018), Death Heads: Brain Drain (2018), Carnage Collection – Puppet Master: Trunk Full of Terror (2022)]

Honestly, there’s not really a lot to Crawlspace. Oh, sure, it’s short, at only an hour and twenty minutes long, but more to the point, there’s not a whole lot of story here. Girl moves into an apartment building, girl hears strange noises, girl finds out landlord is a Nazi. I mean, we’ve all been there, right?

Well, perhaps not, but it is true that this movie doesn’t really feel that active. It’s not that there’s really a boring moment here, because I don’t think it drags at any point, it’s more that it just felt, for lack of a better adjective, shallow.

Respect where respect is due, Klaus Kinski gives a great performance (apparently he wasn’t that enjoyable off-camera, which was interesting to learn). It’s not that his character is filled with unique backstory or emotion, it’s just that he plays his role in a very creepy, yet subtle, style, and he’s pretty much all you’re watching when on-screen.

Problematically, he’s about one of the only reasons to go out of your way to watch this, though. It’s not that the other performances are bad, or even lacking (I personally enjoyed the main character, played by one Talia Balsam), it’s just that there’s not a lot to this movie, and Kinski’s character is pretty much the focus for a large portion of it.

Hell, most of the kills themselves aren’t exactly that memorable, save for maybe the chair scene, and while I’ll give credit to the ending for being somewhat suspenseful (a chase through air ducts being both claustrophobic and tense), along with the woman trapped in the cage added an additional uneasy vibe, I just couldn’t find it in me to call this an overly memorable movie.

I think I’ve seen this one maybe three times before, perhaps only two. No matter how many times I saw it before this most recent viewing, though, I don’t think I was ever amazed with it. No doubt that Crawlspace is competent, and occasionally compelling, but it’s certainly not much more than that. Not bad with a single watch, but I really don’t think multiple viewings does this one much good.


This is one of the films covered by Fight Evil’s podcast. Listen to the wonderful video below to hear Chucky (@ChuckyFE) and I discuss Crawlspace.

Author: Jiggy's Horror Corner

Fan of the horror genre, writer of mini-reviews, and lover of slashers.

3 thoughts on “Crawlspace (1986)”

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