20 September 2014

Crawlspace (1972)
74 min.
Directed by John Newland.
With Arthur Kennedy, Teresa Wright, Tom Happer, Eugene Roche, Matthew Cowles, Dan Morgan.
This is one unusual little TV thriller.

Albert Graves (Kennedy) and his wife Alice (Wright) are a middle-aged couple who move to the country in the hopes of enjoying some much needed rest and relaxation. They buy an old fixer-upper, get moved in, and settle down to retired life in a small town. But then, they start hearing strange scratching noises under their kitchen floor.

They're shocked to discover an adult man named Richard (Happer) living in the crawlspace underneath their home. Even more bewildering is the Graves' response to the situation. They let Richard continue to live under their floorboards, and informally 'adopt' him as the child they never had!

If this were just a tale of lonely people finding happiness, well, there wouldn't be any problem. But Richard is a dangerous sociopath with an uncontrollable temper and murderous tendencies! Will the Graves be able to 'evict' their 'son' before something horrific happens?

Unfortunately, Crawlspace stretches credibility on too many key levels, hindering its ability to be an effective sleeper. It's hard to sympathize with the Graves; in particular, it's difficult to understand the motivations that drive their decision to allow Richard to stay on.

That said, it's well acted by veterans Kennedy and Wright, and does manage a vaguely creepy quality throughout. The setting is charming and quietly disarming, and there's also a beautiful score by Jerry Goldsmith. But seriously, the next time you discover someone living underneath your bed, just kick them out. Period.

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