Eight Legged Freaks: Movie & DVD Review

10/29/2009 Posted by Admin

Movie, DVD Review

"Eight Legged Freaks"

(Originally published 2002)

Leave it to Hollywood to try to keep spinning gold from toxic waste.

Ever since the mid-1950s, when B-movie classics such as "Them!," "Tarantula" and "The Deadly Mantis" proved there's nothing financially itsy-bitsy about big bugs gone berserk, Hollywood has delivered a wealth of creature-features starring the leggy beasts, from such insect-infested shockers as "Beginning of the End,” “Earth vs. The Spider" and "Invasion of the Bee Girls" to the more recent "Tremors," "Starship Troopers" and "Mimic."

Now, in this definitive summer of the spider, the toxic creepy-crawlies have come creeping again, this time in the form of Ellory Elkayem's "Eight Legged Freaks," a postmodern homage to the B-movies of yesteryear that features scores of huge, mutant spiders taking over the woefully misnamed town of Prosperity, Ariz.

Obviously, any film that features spiders as large as a city block isn’t going to be for everyone, certainly not those who prefer their spiders beneath the heel of their shoe or at the business end of a can of Raid. Still, for those who dig this sort of thing, "Eight Legged Freaks" is mindless fun, especially during its lively first half, which has a great time winking at the absurdity of its premise before getting kneecapped by repetition midway through.

In the film, David Arquette is Chris McCormick, a mining engineer who returns to Prosperity after his father’s death to collect his inheritance—a gold mine, no less—and to rekindle a romance with his old flame, Sam Parker (Kari Wuhrer), who’s now Prosperity’s no-nonsense sheriff and a single mother of two, Ashley (Scarlett Johansson) and Mike (Scott Terra).

Unfortunately for Chris, his plans to put the squeeze on Sam are temporarily shelved when a barrel of toxic waste is accidentally dumped into a pond, an event that inadvertently leads to one man’s spider collection mutating out of control and viciously mugging the folks of Prosperity.

As produced by Dean Devlin and Roland Emmerich, the duo who botched 1998’s “Godzilla,” “Eight Legged Freaks” takes itself a lot less seriously and scores because of it. It pointedly pilfers from other films, particularly George Romero’s “Dawn of the Dead,” whose influence is realized at the end when the townsfolk, fleeing the spiders, take refuge at a shopping mall and realize some unexpected savings. Specifically, their lives.

Grade: B

View the trailer here:

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