Creature Features – Eight Legged Freaks

OK it’s stupid, it’s derivative, the CGI clunks in  places,  and it runs out of speed towards the climax, but  if you can get into the right frame of mind then this homage  to all those 1950’s giant bug movies is great fun. I recently watched it on DVD after not seeing the movie since its original release and I must admit I  enjoyed it in a goofy kind of way. The plot  is simple – spiders are mutated by toxic waste and  go on the rampage in small town  America. That’s it  – well apart  from a sub plot in which David Arquette is in love with the town’s hot female sheriff, but we don’t really care about that and  it  is the giant spiders  we’ve come to see.

The first thirty minutes or so contain some inventive touches – the fight between the cat and the spider within the cavity of a wall is brilliantly done, as is the scene where the spider gets the Parrot who recites the most famous line from The Sixth Sense, “I see dead people”, but as we get further into the film the spider attacks become far less subtle and far more in your face. The CGI spiders are impressive in places but more often look false and as if they have been layered over a scene. One section in which the creatures are taking down a team of motocross riders is ruined in places by the ropey effects.
It’s not a bad movie, though and when it works it really works. Maybe not as a terror filled horror movie, but certainly as a fun-filled nod to the B movies of old. I think if I’d been watching this as a young kid the it would have terrified me, – hey  if the spiders in Doctor Who gave me the willies then this would have seriously freaked me.  Sill as an adult I can appreciate the humour – Jay Arlen Jones is excellent as the paranoid shock jock who spends his life spouting out various conspiracy theories on his local radio show. He sees the spiders as aliens and proof  that he has been right all along and that they do indeed walk among us.
‘Anal probe – that’s just wrong. What are they expecting to find up there?’

The climax takes place in a shopping mall – the logic of the movie suffers here and we are expected to believe that you can get from the basement of the shopping mall into a methane filled gold mine. Accepting the spiders is no problem but this little detail seems a step too far. The fact that the mines are filled with the explosive gas is highlighted several times in the movie so it’s no surprise when the spiders are lured into the mines and then blown to bits and pieces.

Still it’s all in good fun and well worth a watch.

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