Field Guide to Invertebrates in Film: They Crawl

They Crawl (2001)
Critter: Genetically engineered cockroaches that completely resemble the cinematic Madagascar Hissing Cockroach, let’s call them Gromphadorhina portentosa var. conspiritatus
Size: Singly, about 2 inches long, en masse as big as a mac truck
Modus Operandi: Burrow and eat
How the Menace Emerges: The government is surprised when two physics geeks decipher and solve their blueprints for deadly surveillance bugs… or are they?
End Goal: Who cares!

I should retract all of the nasty things I have said about such gems as Mesa of the Lost Women and The Horrors of Spider Island. I hadn’t seen one of these new fangled bug flicks in a while, and I had forgotten how much worse things could be in this new age of CGI. They Crawl is one of the lowest forms of invertebrate film I’ve run across: a budget and nothing to show for it. Its better than B-grade production value only guarantees that it won’t even hit the campy-charm sweet spot. This mediocre movie is essentially an unending TV police procedural with glaring plot holes, a red herring cult, sub par TV soap opera stars, horrible CGI and inane dialogue parading as edgy. Do two characters have nothing better to say at the moments of their separate, impending demises than “Fuck you!” with eyes squinted in their best Clint Eastwood impersonations or did the scriptwriter just like that one enough to use it twice? It’s odd that with a visual effects guy in the director’s seat that not even the special effects are worth a peek. The handful of poor cockroaches that wasted their valuable time on this film are quickly tossed aside to make room for their ineffectual and utterly un-insect-like CGI replacements. Uggggh.

Nit-picking Science: Hey, encryption-boy! You have vastly overestimated the mass of insects on the planet! Although I am unaware of a decent estimate, 90% of Earth’s biomass is unlikely to consist of insects. Sure, ants and termites might make up about a third of forest biomass, but what about bacteria, protozoa and plants? And you, Mr. Coroner. Frequencies can't electrocute people. Stick to bodies and leave the physics up to the professionals.

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