“It’s my media induced paranoid delusional nightmare”
There’s just something about spiders that makes your skin crawl. Eight sinister legs, dark hairy bodies, blood sucking fangs, they tap into some primal fear in the depths of our psyche that can send a shiver down your spine. So it’s no surprise that Hollywood has been more than happy to try turn this fear into dollars. While spiders may be scary, the fact that you could just squash them with your shoe does take away from the menace somewhat. But giant spiders, now that’s another story!
When Chris McCormick (David Arquette) returns to his dead-end hometown after 10 years away, he arrives just as the town is about to be overrun by spiders that have become super-sized after eating crickets from a toxic waste contaminated lake (so, its not exactly “Schindler’s List” then). Teaming up with single mom, Sheriff Sam Parker (Kari Wuhrer) and her two kids (including a young Scarlett Johansson), Chris has to save the town and its inhabitants from a lethal ‘Arac-Attack’ (the films original title, sadly changed after America invaded Iraq) while trying to tell Sam his true feelings for her.
‘Eight Legged Freaks’ is a good throwback to classic Monster B-movies, like ‘Them!’ and ‘Tarantula’. While most of the great horror movies are parables for the underlying fears of the age, be it nuclear weapons or communism, ‘Eight Legged Freaks’ can’t claim to be of the same pedigree. Sadly as it’s kind of hard to draw parallels between global terrorism and giant spiders so the film relies on comedy and action rather than smarts and horror, which is a shame, as while its good fun, a film with giant spiders really should be scary too.
Although not your typical block buster star David Arquette suits the material well and it’s great to see Kari Wuhrer get a shot at the big time. But let’s face it, the real stars of the show were always going to be the giant spiders. Tarantula’s, orb weavers and jumping spiders to name a few, there’s certainly enough specimens to guarantee a nice variety of creative (if PG rated) deaths, with suitably cheesy effects.
While it does sadly suffer from an underwhelming finale, that shouldn’t dissuade people seeking out this classic B movie homage. It might not have clever sub-text, or an A list cast, but it does deliver some decent thrills and laughs, best enjoyed in the dark with some friends and some large popcorn.