November 1st, 2023
MOVIE: CRUMB CATCHER
STARRING: RIGO GARAY, ELLA RAE PECK, JOHN SPEREDAKOS, LORRAINE FARRIS
DIRECTED BY: CHRIS SKOTCHDOPOLE
AMovieGuy.com’s RATING: 3 STARS (Out of 4)
There is a subgenre of films where the kindness of others is being used against them to horrific results. It comes to mind in films such as Triangle of Sadness, Force Majeure, The Gift, Speak No Evil, and even something like Ma hits on the way people can use someone’s inability to be assertive against them. The most recent is director Chris Skotchdopole’s Crumb Catcher. It involves a newly married couple who are on the receiving end of their wedding planner doing a pop-in, just as they try to settle down for their honeymoon at a summer home. There is more to it than just, “guy shows up and annoys the hell out of them”, but while trapped in this scenario it delivers the kind of irritation that sends you crawling up a wall. Crumb Catcher is a twisted dark comedy, where marital discourse arrives with an uninvited guest and makes for a masterclass in uncomfortable horror.
A high standard of uncomfortable horror is Michael Haneke’s Funny Games, a film he made twice, and both elicit unique ways of making a viewer’s skin crawl. In Crumb Catcher, it starts at the end of the wedding night, where Shane (Rigo Garay) and wife Leah (Ella Rae Peck) are taking final pictures, they’re both a little tipsy, but enjoying their momentous occasion. It’s clear to see that Shane is having deeper, maybe second thoughts, about what just happened. He’s obviously worried about where his life is headed. Later on, an odd man named John (a new star character actor in John Speredakos) walks up and lets them know they can’t find the cake topper but he will make sure they get it. That passes, and the couple keeps drinking, a big party for all, with Shane passing out and not remembering anything that happened.
The next morning things are rough. Too much drinking leaves Shane a bit hazy. They are both hungover. They try to talk about family and the success of Shane’s writing and discuss what’s next in married life. They go to bed and then get an unsuspecting knock at the door. It’s John with the topper even though they never cared about it. Then he lets himself in. He wants a drink. Then he wants to pitch his new invention, the Crumb Catcher, which cleans up crumbs on a dinner table. John wants an investment. Then a woman named Rose (Lorraine Farris) barges in, telling John to move it, which quickly turns into the couple blackmailing Shane for something that happened while he was drunk at the wedding. Now Shane needs to figure a way to get them out of there without Leah finding out.
The conundrum itself is uncomfortable, where the screenplay by Skotchdopole, working off a story from Larry Fessenden and Garay, isn’t interested in releasing that discomfort. Once the blackmailing becomes the issue that is where Crumb Catcher turns on the energy. It becomes a question of “what would you do in this situation?” type of horror and the majority of the credit belongs to Speredakos who feels plucked out of a Cohen Brothers world of memorable character actors. He’s a perfect combo of annoying, funny, scary, and unpredictable.
The ending of Crumb Catcher moves into its climactic point, as it backs Shane and Leah into a corner, and they fight but it’s after the damage has been done. It’s at this moment where it felt a bit like there wasn’t a concrete decision for how it should end till late, but I did like where it landed. What is clear is that the idea of an uninvited guest forcing their way into your life will always be one creepy and uncomfortable concept. Crumb Catcher shows a welcome surprise from director Chris Skotchdopole where he knows how to turn the screws and keep us thinking twice about being nice to…just about anyone. Kind of a crumby thought.
CRUMB CATCHER HAD ITS PREMIERE AT FANTASTIC FEST 2023 AND IS STILL LOOKING FOR DISTRIBUTION.
Written by: Leo Brady