The Crumbs is the new film from director David J. Espinosa and co-writer Craig Ahrens, the filmmakers who made last year’s The Evil Down the Street. And it’s a complete change of pace. That was a straightforward and rather subdued tale of the supernatural. This is a bizarre and somewhat over the top mix of mad science, cannibalism and romance. It’s also something of a comedy.
The Crumbs run an Airbnb in the middle of nowhere. They’re a nice family, Irene Crumb (Maria Olsen, Eminence Hill, Ghost in the Graveyard) is the mother and runs the kitchen. Dad is Dr. Benjamin Crumb (Jeff Hatch, Mega Shark vs. Kolossus, I Am Still Here ) a brilliant neurosurgeon. There’s daughter Victoria (Chelsea Jurkiewicz, Abigail Haunting) a beautiful if a little strange, young woman. And then there’s Leonard (Anton Clark, Death Kiss), who stands out a little from the others. He’s a lot bigger and a bit simple-minded compared to them. He’s also several shades darker. Regardless, they’re all one happy family.
But like many seemingly perfect families, they have a few skeletons in their closet. And buried in the woods out back too. It seems they’ve been around for a long time, sustained by a formula made from fluids extracted from some of their guests. That and a diet of human flesh. But a private detective, Angel Valente (David J. Espinosa) is working on a missing person case. And the trail is leading right to the Crumbs front door.
The mix of private detectives, cannibalism and humour initially made me think of the Karen Black film Auntie Lee’s Meat Pies. But thankfully the similarities are superficial and The Crumbs is actually a good movie. The plot actually harks back more to films like Motel Hell where a seemingly unending flow of obnoxious characters stop by and never leave. And for some reason, nobody notices the abnormally high rate of missing persons in the area.
The Crumbs runs a full hour and fifty minutes, and by around the midpoint, this starts to feel a bit repetitive. Thankfully that’s also where the films various subplots really start to kick in and change things up. Valente’s investigations, Victoria’s illness and some interfamily tensions all come into play.
It’s the last of those that I found most interesting and unexpected. It’s interesting to see how Dr. Crumb views the difference between “like a son to me” and an actual son. Especially when, as he puts it, “family can be more than family”. Unfortunately, this angle gets dropped and quickly glossed over in favour of an ending that isn’t entirely a surprise.
I’d probably have been happier with that ending if the film was shorter as well. The last act certainly changed my opinion of the Crumbs and what I wanted their fates to be.
There’s a lot to like about The Crumbs. The laboratory is a nice piece of set design, full of equipment that looks to have been around since the 17 and 1800s. The acting is good and with a good ensemble cast. I expect good things from Maria Olsen, but I was particularly surprised by Jurkiewicz who is much better here than she was in Abigail Haunting.
That acting comes in very useful in selling some of the humour. It’s not that easy making a family of killers seem funny and likable. Although that does somewhat fade as the film wears on and the film gradually takes a darker and more serious tone.
Indie Rights has picked up The Crumbs for release and it’s currently available to stream. You can check the film’s Facebook page for other release plans.