You won’t find evil leprechauns or cursed pots of gold in Into the Dark: Crawlers, but there’s conspiracy theories, an alien invasion and spirited Irish music in this St. Patrick’s Day-themed horror movie. Slainte!
Was I the only one who was disappointed that St. Patrick’s Day wasn’t picked for March’s holiday in season 1 of Into the Dark? (Instead, Hulu released Treehouse, in celebration of International Women’s Day.) If you were bummed too, Into the Dark got us covered in season 2 with Crawlers. It’s set during the popular drinking holiday most commonly associated with March.
There’s plenty of green beer flowing, but also green blood. Green blood? Yep. I’ll get to that. But first, a warning. This post contains spoilers.
Invasion of the zombies?
At first glance, you might think this movie is going to be about zombies. Even though the movie’s narrator, Shauna (Giorgia Whigham), has already assured us this is the tale of how she and her friends managed to stop an alien invasion and saved the world.
But at first, it doesn’t look like aliens. It has the classic hallmarks of the start of a zombie apocalypse. For instance, one of the first scenes shows a police officer (Adam Pepper) hitting a guy with his car. He doesn’t mean to. He’s busy ogling some scantily clad co-eds walking on the sidewalk rather than paying attention to where he’s driving.
Officer Sullivan stops to help the shirtless man painted green, who’s one of the drunk brothers from the nearby frat house. To the officer’s relief, the young man comes to but then promptly attacks and bites him. After the surprised Officer Sullivan pushes the man off, he’s even more shocked to see the biter morphing into an image of him. (Kind of like how Robert Patrick did in Terminator 2: Judgment Day.)
This is one of the many places where Shauna, who’s narrating as if on YouTube or something, pauses to add a bit of extra commentary on the scene. In this case, she says: “See? I told you this wasn’t a story about zombies.”
The pauses were fun because Shauna’s character is brassy and sassy. She’s streetwise, suspicious, particularly of the government, and possibly delusional, but that’s what’s going to keep her and her new friends alive.
We’re not quite sure what Shauna’s story is at first, but it becomes clear pretty fast. She believes in conspiracy theories and believes even her town, Emerald Springs, has one regarding a meteor that crashed there on March 17, 1978.
Of course, anyone listening to Shauna and her theories thinks she’s a wackadoodle who might have sampled too much of her own product. (She’s one of the town’s local drug dealers.)
That’s a major theme of Crawlers: believability.
One of the girls (princesses) Shauna ends up becoming friends with the night of the St. Patrick’s Day Massacre (which is actually the name of the annual pub crawl in Emerald Springs) is Misty (Pepi Sonuga). Misty believes she was roofied by one of the Beta House’s “Pervert Mafia’s” Goodfellas, Michael, who is anything but “good.”
That’s bad enough, but Misty’s life-long best friend, Chloe (Jude Demorest), doesn’t believe her. Chloe is all about having a good time and being the life of the party. On St. Patrick’s Day, she’s the Queen of the Crawl. She doesn’t want anything, even her bestie, bringing her down. So she’s been ignoring her, and even looking for a replacement BFF in Yuejin (Olivia Liang).
Misty’s understandably devastated and frustrated, but when Chloe is kidnapped by Beta House president, Aaron, she doesn’t hesitate to try and help her. Even though that means facing the scene of her own assault: the Beta House.
Thus far no one has taken Misty seriously, but to her surprise Shauna does. If anyone knows a thing or two about people not believing her, it’s Miss Conspiracy Theorist.
Who do you trust when aliens can replicate themselves to look and act like your friends and loved ones? Well, one way is to cut them. Humans bleed red. Aliens bleed green. Shauna, Misty, Yuejin and Aaron (who didn’t kidnap Chloe after all) find themselves having to trust one another as they work together to stop the super alien ants.
No, Crawlers isn’t a sci-fi horror about giant man-eating ants either. When Shauna’s mom observed the meteor crash in the 70s, she noted what looked like small bugs behaving oddly at the crash site. They congregated at a nest and worked together as a colony, much like ants do, but with the ability to replicate themselves into whatever they came into contact with. Clearly they’d spent the years evolving into bigger human form and are trying to take over the world.
Now it’s up to Shauna and her crew to figure out how to stop them. Shauna and her mom present the theory that if they destroy the nest, it will kill all the aliens because they believe the nest is “the physical nexus of the metamorph psionic neural net.” In other words, the aliens operate with a shared brain connected via “alien WiFi.”
It’s worth a try.
So is watching Crawlers. I’ve been disappointed by most of the Into the Dark offerings, but Crawlers was one of the better ones. It’s fun, the characters and the actors playing them draw you in and it has a rocking soundtrack.
There could even be an Into the Dark: Crawlers 2. Shauna, Misty and Aaron successfully eradicate this batch of aliens, but, as she’s filming, another meteor crashes behind her.
"“Mom, get your shotgun. They’re back!”"
P.S. If you like outtakes, they mix bloopers into the credits at the end.
Into the Dark: Crawlers is now on Hulu.