Creepy Crawly Is One of the Year’s Funnest Creature Features

Image provided by Well Go USA

I hate bugs. With a burning passion. Seriously, just the thought of something like a centipede or a moth coming into the slightest contact with me is enough to get me a little bit anxious, so naturally, when I first heard about Creepy Crawly, I knew I had to check this movie out. As a horror fanatic, there are few things I enjoy more than facing my biggest fears on screen, and from the title alone, I knew this film would give me the chance to do exactly that. I requested a screener as soon as I could, and now that I’ve had the chance to see it, I’m happy to say that it totally lived up to my expectations.

Creepy Crawly was written and directed by Chalit Krileadmongkon and Pakphum Wongjinda, and it stars Pirat Nitipaisalkul, Chanya McClory, Benjamin Joseph Varney, and David Asavanon. The movie is set in March of 2020, and it takes place almost entirely in a hotel that houses people under quarantine. At first, the place seems just like any other hotel, but soon enough, the guests and staff realize that they’re under attack from a giant, centipede-like creature that can hide inside people’s bodies and possess them.

Right off the bat, I have to let you know that if you’re not already a fan of monsters, Creepy Crawly isn’t going to change that. It’s a pretty standard creature feature, so if the subgenre isn’t for you, you’re probably not going to enjoy this film. But if you’re like me and you love seeing deadly monsters go to town on unsuspecting victims, I think you’re going to have a blast.

In particular, the horror in this movie is excellent. The monster seems to be brought to life through a mix of practical effects and CGI, and for the most part, it looks pretty good. Sure, there are a few shots here and there where the CG is a bit noticeable, but by and large, I didn’t have any trouble believing that this creature really did share the same space as the human characters.

A man in a room with centipedes crawling around
Image provided by Well Go USA

On top of that, the creature design is also pretty terrifying. Granted, for most of Creepy Crawly, we don’t get to see this thing in all its disgusting glory, but when we finally do get a good look at it, it doesn’t disappoint. It has all the skin-crawling creepiness of a centipede, but its torso is even more monstrous. For a huge bug-hater like me, it’s almost like this creature was ripped right out of my nightmares, and I loved every second it was on screen.

In contrast, when the thing is hidden inside people, it feels like a blend of two famous movie monsters: the Marvel character Venom and the alien from The Thing. For example, just like Venom, this creature can transform its victims’ limbs into its own limbs, and when that happens, it can also extend those monstrous appendages far beyond typical human lengths.

And because the monster essentially uses people as living disguises, the characters are often unsure who it’s possessing at any given moment. That uncertainty creates some very Carpenter-esque tension, and there’s even a scene where a group of people argue about which one of them is currently hosting the monster.

All of those great elements come together to create some fantastic horror, and thankfully, the filmmakers behind Creepy Crawly recognize that this is the film’s number one strength. While the first 20 minutes or so are largely just setup, the rest of the movie is chock-full of action and suspense. It’s an absolute blast, so from that 20-minute mark on, this film had me completely engaged right up until the end.

A woman in a hotel hallway
Image provided by Well Go USA

But I don’t want you to get the wrong idea. Even though the horror is the best thing about Creepy Crawly, that’s not the only thing this movie does well. Somewhat surprisingly, it also has some terrific cinematography. To be fair, most of the time, the cinematography is competent but nothing special, so this film isn’t even close to being in the same league as, say, The Green Knight. But every once in a while, it’ll give us a genuinely gorgeous shot that looks like it came straight out of an A24 movie, and those moments happen often enough that I’d definitely count this as one of the movie’s strengths.

All that being said, I can’t quite say that Creepy Crawly is a perfect film. Even though I enjoyed the hell out of it, the characters left quite a bit to be desired. Granted, they’re not bad, but they’re not exactly noteworthy either. Nobody in this movie stands out, so none of these people feel like unique individuals. Instead, they just feel like a generic mass of names and faces, so at times, I had a bit of trouble remembering who was who. Because of that, I never became particularly attached to any of them, so even when the film tried its best to tug at my heartstrings, I was just never moved by the deaths or the moments of peril.

And in my opinion, that one flaw keeps Creepy Crawly from being a truly great creature feature. Sure, it’s super fun, but it just doesn’t have the emotional heft it needs to get to that next level. Instead, it remains at the “fun as hell” tier, but you know what? That’s totally fine by me. I had a great time with this movie, and if you’re a fan of monsters, I think you will too.

Creepy Crawly is set to hit digital, DVD, and Blu-ray on October 3.

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Written by JP Nunez

JP Nunez is a lifelong horror fan. From a very early age, he learned to love monsters, ghosts, and all things spooky, and it's still his favorite genre today.

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