Thursday, October 09, 2014

Horror Thoughts ‘14—Big Ass Spider! (2013) **½

PG-13, 80 min.
Director: Mike Mendez
Writer: Gregory Gieras
Starring: Greg Grunberg, Clare Kramer, Lombardo Boyar, Ray Wise, Patrick Bauchau

As a Pest Control Technician I just had to add this little number to my Horrorfest this year. “Big Ass Spider!” enjoyed a very small theatrical run last fall before garnering much more publicity with its broadcast debut on the Syfy network earlier this year. While it does fit in with Syfy’s history of absurd schlock horror titles, like “Sharknado”, “Big As Spider!” is actually cut of a slightly finer cloth—not much nicer, but a little.

Alex is a PCT who isn’t having a great day off. Called in to work for one of his regular customers, he’s bit by a poisonous brown recluse spider. While at the hospital getting treatment, the morgue receives a mysterious body that happens to carry within it a very large and hungry spider. The hospital recruits Alex to hunt the thing down after it attacks a staff member. Then a secret military unit descends on the hospital to lock down the threat, which must be more then your everyday spider to gain such attention.

The whole thing is done with tongue squarely placed in cheek, and former “Alias” comic relief Greg Grunberg makes for an unlikely charming hero. Along the way he picks up a hospital security guard as a sidekick. The film is at its best when it lets these two go to work with snarky comments and digs about what’s happening around them. Quirky “Twin Peaks” actor Ray Wise is brought in as the General in charge of the operation. He unfortunately isn’t used for his quirky gifts here.

Gregory Gieras’s script is usually pretty smart about being aware of the plot’s preposterousness. However, there are some errors in depicting the growth progress of the spider. Some scenes could’ve used to be shifted around to build suspense a little better. The film’s greatest weakness is its special effects. You almost have to give the movie a pass here, because it does the best it can with its micro budget. The effects are better than “Sharknado”, but they’re of similar quality.

It’s still a little difficult to get fully behind this movie because it’s really so very silly. Yet, if you go into it understanding that this is nothing to be taken seriously, it has some surprisingly effective moments here and there. I liked it. I laughed. And I appreciated the pest control angle of it. 

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