What is this? A CGI creature feature not produced by The Asylum and shoved on SyFy without any promotion? I didn’t know gems like this actually exist! Granted the DVD cover art pictured to the left looks like something from both juggernauts, Queen Crab was only produced with a budget far less than $500,000 and distributed through Wild Eye Releasing. I wanted to make this clear before going forward so that anyone who reads this understands that Queen Crab is a very different animal… erm, crustacean?… than other titles in its category. What does that mean for me as a reviewer? Check out my thoughts below.
Queen Crab is written and directed by Brett Piper, who’s actually a prolific writer/director with previous works like Raiders of The Living Dead, They Bite, Screaming Dead and Shock-O-Rama. Cast members include Michelle Simone Miller, Kathryn Metz, Rich Lounello, A.J. DeLucia, Steve Diasparra (HalloweeNight, Muckman), Danielle Donahue (Amityville Death House, House of Carnage) and Ken Van Sant (Razorteeth, Splatter Beach).
“A young girl takes genetically altered fruit from her scientist father’s laboratory and feeds them to a pet crab. The same day an accident in the laboratory claimed the lives of her parents and she is shipped off to live with other relatives. Years later the same girl returns to her hometown and the lake and a giant beast is awakened at her return. Now, the once lovable crab has grown to epic proportions and is terrorizing the remote countryside town. It’s up to the sheriff and a rag-tag band of locals to stop the creature before it has the chance to hatch an army of queen crabs.”
Queen Crab was, I assume, created as a throwback to the creature features of the 80’s and early 90’s, mostly the ones that “Elvira’s Movie Macabre” would have hosted. The camera quality and sound quality definitely leave a lot to be desired, but that’s what you get when examining low budget scifi titles from those eras. You certainly need to love the time periods to get a kick out of Queen Crab. Further expanding on this thought, as with other low budget scifi titles, there’s a lot of stiff acting and laughable acting, and I honestly struggle to name a single actor who really stood out from the crowd. It has its slow points, especially when it comes to the body count – I only remember three or four people getting smushed by the dastardly cabs – so there is a lot of exposition and problem solving to be sound. Don’t check out this feature if you’re looking for an action thriller meets scifi horror, despite what the DVD cover art will try to lead you to believe.
I do give this production a lot of credit for their queen crab design, though. Instead of sticking with CGI, the special effects, graphics and prop department went with several avenues to bring their crabs to life. I noticed real crabs, prop crabs, CGI crabs and even crabs mobilized through good old stop motion effects! I took an animation class in film school and I know how hard it is to do long scenes of stop motion. Again, much credit is deserved here. What was created were giant, evil crabs that were 100x more interactive than the creatures you’d see from The Asylum and SyFy. The critters actually interact with themselves, nature, and the characters instead of just walking, swatting or fighting another creature. It’s fantastic, innovative and invigorating to see an extremely low budget flick do a better job at creating monsters than other productions with much larger financing. Great job, guys!
The rest of Queen Crab is a give and take. There’s one, huge plot twist that I didn’t see coming, which adds a single layer of originality to the script. I’m glad that Brett Piper went with crabs instead of stereotypical sharks, octopus, crocodiles, snakes, etc. But, then, weird things happen and this title veers off the tracks with gun happy hicks and military planes coming in to drop bombs. The gore is either good or non-existent. It’s fun and campy, or it’s really, really not. All things considered, Queen Crab is right in the middle of old school creature feature nostalgia and, well… crap. I wouldn’t say it’s worth a full DVD purchase, but a stream or rental isn’t out of the question. FINAL SCORE: 5 out of 10.