Fantastic Fest review: 'Crumb Catcher' relentless with cringe comedy, danger

John (John Speredakos) invented The Crumb Catcher. Photo courtesy of Glass Eye Pix and Gigantic Pictures
1 of 2 | John (John Speredakos) invented The Crumb Catcher. Photo courtesy of Glass Eye Pix and Gigantic Pictures

LOS ANGELES, Sept. 24 (UPI) -- Crumb Catcher, which premiered at Fantastic Fest in Austin, Texas, begins as a cringe comedy and becomes a truly suspenseful thriller. It is equally relentless at both.

Leah (Ella Rae Peck) and Shane (Rigo Garay) spend the day after their wedding at Leah's editor's remote, luxurious house. John (John Speredakos), a caterer from the hotel, brings them the top of their wedding cake for posterity.


John just won't take the hint that he should leave and pressures the newlyweds to hear his business proposal. He's also brought his wife, Rose (Lorraine Ferris) to help present The Crumb Catcher.

First of all, Leah and Shane don't seem like a harmonious marriage in the first place. Even the story of how they met sounds hostile.

Leah is a publisher and has nurtured Shane to write an autobiographical book. Now, Shane is having second thoughts about publishing it.

Regardless, John seriously lacks social skills to interrupt a couple on night two of their marriage and keep sticking around for chit chat. This is a very familiar situation where polite hints just don't work, but then blunt "get out now" doesn't either.


Shane thinks maybe if they sit through the presentation it'll be enough to satisfy them, but of course it never is. The invention is an absurdly bulky device that helps diners sweep up their own crumbs so their dinner conversation won't be interrupted by waiters.

It would be tragicomic if it were just about John's deluded hope that this unnecessary invention is his ticket to prosperity. But, John and Rose have more nefarious intentions too.

When these screwups try to be master criminals, it's even more frustrating because their criminal plan is as misguided as The Crumb Catcher. By then, their escalating desperation becomes dangerous.

Crumb Catcher generates all this uncomfortable comedy and taut suspense with four people in a single location.

Leah and Shane probably didn't need a crisis to break the tensions in their relationship. Resentments on night two are not a good sign, and other big wedding slights are revealed during the night.

When it comes to the book, Shane feels it's his story so he reserves the right to pull it, contracts notwithstanding. Except Leah got it published so it really is not just him anymore.

But, John and Rose would be insufferable even to the perfect couple.


Crumb Catcher is a movie for anyone who has met people they just can't get rid of. Even if a viewer has been fortunate not to experience that, the situation is relatable enough to warrant sympathy pangs.

Fred Topel, who attended film school at Ithaca College, is a UPI entertainment writer based in Los Angeles. He has been a professional film critic since 1999, a Rotten Tomatoes critic since 2001, and a member of the Television Critics Association since 2012 and the Critics Choice Association since 2023. Read more of his work in Entertainment.

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