Set in the small town of Mendocino, California, Crabs! begins with a tragic incident when a power plant explodes and collapses into the sea. Nearby is a single, lonely Crab who is affected by the power plant’s destruction. This crab begins to mutate dramatically and has a thirst to kill and murder anything that gets in its way. We soon learn that it wasn’t just one crab that got affected.
The film then introduces several characters, starting with Philip (Dylan Riley Snyder), who lives with his older brother, Hunter (Bryce Durfee). Philip is a science genius and spends most of his time working on various gadgets in his garage. He is passionate about trying to find a way he can use modern technology to help him walk again. Philip’s school is about to have its annual prom event, and he would love to dance with his close friend Maddy (Allie Jennings).
As the film progresses, things get crazier and more wildly absurd (in a good way). Shortly after the film introduces its various characters, one or two crabs begin to cause havoc and spill blood within the community. Many mysteries have the local law enforcement baffled, including a large dead whale that has been brutally murdered.
Crabs! is best described as a horror and comedy film. This kind of film is highly familiar, especially if you’ve seen Piranha, Gremlins or even an episode of Power Rangers. There are many gruesome and gory kills here which will please many horror fanatics. The kills are aimed to be more comical than scary, and nothing on-screen is to be taken seriously or as a dramatic moment. Everything here, right from the start, is brainless and ridiculous.
Visually, the film gives a strong b-grade impression. The general look of the crabs themselves does have some impressive moments relating to effects, but there are also times when the crabs look more like small, robot vacuum cleaners. There is heavy use of CGI (especially in the third act), which at times feels creative and strong, and at other times, sadly, the CGI is fairly obvious and laughable, like a Sharknado film. Watching a crab mutate into a Godzilla-sized creature is fun, but again, it’s obvious it’s just an actor in a costume- remember, think Power Rangers. The audio track is forgettable and has disappointing moments, mostly because it is unfitting with what’s on-screen. The music feels more like it was made for a midday teen soap opera.
Most of the leading characters are fun and enjoyable, but I can’t deny some characters are downright annoying, including Radu (Chase Padgett), who plays a school exchange student. Radu struggles to speak proper English in an attempt at comedy, which never worked for me. This character even gets his own song during the end credits, which is tortuous for homeowners with a surround sound system. In a nutshell, the character of Radu is what a human Jar Jar Binks would be like if he were trying to kill mutated crabs within a small community.
Overall, it may come as no surprise, but this is a ridiculous movie, and for some people, that’s the perfect film to watch on any occasion. I do generally admire certain aspects of this film, and it contains many moments of creativity and wild comedy, especially when it comes to the level of gore and the film’s body count. While some aspects are creative, it’s highly familiar and feels more like a b-grade version of Gremlins mixed in with Piranhas. Key actors have obviously enjoyed being part of the film, which is great to see, but sad to say, there are some annoying characters on-screen who are on the human level of Jar Jar Binks. In the end, I can’t say I’ve ever seen a film about hordes of mutated murderous crabs before, and now, I feel both content and somewhat dissatisfied.