There’s one famous proverb and that is the dead tell no tales; and if that is true, it follows then that one must tell a story in his stead.
That adage sums up what The Crypt is all about—It lacks a strong story. Writer and director Craig McMahon tries to make a movie that H.P. Lovecraft could be proud of and he fails miserably. The movie begins ominously enough, with a grave robber entering the depths of a crypt in search for buried treasure. What he finds instead are unsettled spirits who do not want anyone stealing their valued goods. He is buried alive.
Years later, Perry (Mike Ranallo) is finally released from prison. He soon becomes involved in a plan to steal from the dead. This idea was concocted by PJ (Sarah Oh), the leader of a female gang of thieves. They plan on fencing what they will unearth.
Perry agrees and with his current girlfriend, Gina (Abra May), they plan to enter the crypt at night.
There isn’t much more to the story beyond that. One by one, they encounter the waking dead and attempt to escape the underground vaults. With more pin-up poses of the buxom babes than shrieks of fright, the movie drags on because the cast can’t act. They don’t look convincingly afraid.
And one by one, the dead exact silent revenge on the thieves.
The effects are low-budget, and the ghosts look like they are from the cover of Rue Morgue, the definitive Canadian magazine on horror in the entertainment industry. For an indie film, this can be forgiven and the way they are featured is somewhat effective. They’re silent ghoulish sentinels. And with a strange insect-like sound ticking in the background, audiences can see what McMahon is trying to do in order to create tension and fright. It doesn’t fully work.
The atmosphere is not fully established to convey the sense that the vaults are eerily haunted. There are many ways to convey dread, like the right kind of atmospheric music. Not even that is successfully accomplished.
But inevitably there always seems to be someone who survives in a horror film. The tale the survivor has to tell is one of loss—one’s sanity.