Directed by Josh Stolberg
Originally known as The Attic and/or Hideaway, Crawlspace is not what it initially appears to be. After an intro featuring a particularly tragic incident, we cut to the Gates family. A happy bunch with recognizable faces Jonathan Silverman and Lori Loughlin (who incredibly looks like she just walked off the set of “Full House” 20 years ago – amazing!) and their two young adult children and young son. The family members begin experiencing some strange phenomena… garage door operating by itself, television being left on, etc. We’re initially led to believe this might be some kind of ghost story, but Crawlspace is much creepier than that.
As the usual haunted house fare is run before us, and director Josh Stolberg offers up some half-hearted attempts at jump scares, viewers might begin to think they know what they’re in for with this one. That is, until Aldon Webber (played by Steven Weber) emerges from his hidden living quarters in the attic. That’s right; there’s a strange man living in the attic that no one in the house knows is there. And he’s watching them all the time. Now, if that doesn’t grab your attention, I’m not sure what will. This is creep city!
Containing the same voyeuristic charm of Sleep Tight, Crawlspace shows us Mr. Webber in the attic and then goes on to explain just why he’s there. And the story is a good one. His secret interactions with the family show that he is not necessarily a bad guy at all, just a very, very sick man. And the longer a sick man goes without his meds, the sicker he’s going to get; and that is indeed the case with Aldon Webber. Initially something of a guardian angel, Webber’s grip on reality continues to slip as the movie rolls on, until there is nary a grip at all.
Also, as you begin the film, Crawlspace has a made-for-TV-movie feel to it. Perhaps that’s Loughlin’s presence flashing us back to Uncle Jesse and Kimmy Gibbler, but it may also be that the violent parts of the movie feel restrained. But just as you’ve resigned yourself to the fact that this is going to be a picture that cuts away from all the money shots, Stolberg begins to put the action right in your face. And once it gets rolling, Crawlspace turns into one brutal and violent look into a man’s deranged, broken psyche and his complete unraveling. And it won’t be long before you forget the fact that you thought this was going to be a movie filled with cutaways. It certainly is not. You get more than your fair share of the red, red kroovy with Crawlspace.
Silverman and Loughlin are very good in their roles, as you would expect. Loughlin as your standard mom and Silverman as the dad who’s got a few secrets up his sleeve that help to put all the pieces of the Crawlspace puzzle together. Raleigh Holmes stands out as their collegiate daughter, Kayla, who is home from school. She is the focal point in the family and is personable and charismatic. And veteran actor Steven Weber steals the show. Aldon Webber is a severely broken man and it took the right kind of actor to make this role work. Director Stolberg found the perfect guy to fit the bill as Weber brings Webber to life masterfully.
Stolberg co-wrote the film with Nick Taravella and they did a fantastic job weaving the Gates family story in with Aldon Webber’s backstory. When everything is unveiled, it’s actually believable that a man in Aldon’s situation and state of mind could actually end up living in this particular attic, watching the family below him.
Crawlspace was a really pleasant surprise. From this cast that is interspersed with new talent and veterans alike, Josh Stolberg puts together an impressive movie that is part family drama, part psychotic thriller and part down-home slasher. Steven Weber knocks it out of the park as Aldon Webber, and the well-constructed story is played out in a very entertaining fashion and capped with a thrilling climax. This one is definitely worth a look!
4 out of 5