Home MoviesMovie Reviews TADFF 2021 Shorts: Solo Project ‘Crawl Space’ is DIY Monster Magic

TADFF 2021 Shorts: Solo Project ‘Crawl Space’ is DIY Monster Magic

A Creative At-Home Experiment

by Kelly McNeely
Crawl Space

Inevitably, the COVID lockdown of 2020 put a lot of people in a funk. Getting motivated to do… well, much of anything was a hard task. It also made it a lot more difficult to get together with your friends to create anything productive (unless you’re Rob Savage). For filmmaker Andrew Ellinas, however, there was one clear solution: just do it yourself.

With his practically-made horror short, Crawl Space (which screened as part of the Toronto After Dark Film Festival), Ellinas used his special effects background to create his own giant spider monster movie, shot entirely by himself in his workshop garage. 

The dialogue-free short film shows a man (Ellinas) working away on a project when he hears a strange sound up in the garage’s crawl space. He goes up to investigate and, of course, ends up in a battle with the giant spider that’s taken nest behind a box of Christmas decorations.

It’s a quick short — just under 7 minutes in length — but Ellinas did every aspect of it himself. For his real-world monster, he found creative solutions to problems found, like when you only have two hands to puppeteer eight legs and a mouth. Using a towel for a green screen and some good ol’ fashioned practical effects, he effectively built (and subsequently burned) a moving, creeping, big honkin’ spider. 

You can read all about Ellinas’ process on his blog, which highlights the build and techniques used to create the effects in the short. It’s a fun little film that is all the more impressive knowing that Ellinas did it as a solo project.  

As a Brit in Canada, Ellinas got his start in special effects working on Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, after which he was invited to stay on for the rest of the films. The mantra “there’s always a way” was something he took to heart, and was a major source of inspiration when creating Crawl Space. 

The short film is a lovely little reminder of the power of DIY, and a solid accomplishment for an at-home experiment. Where there’s a will, there’s always a way… even during a pesky pandemic.