(In theaters, July 2002) It’s been a long dry spell for us giant-spider movies enthusiasts, but at last, the wait is over and Eight Legged Freaks is everything you can wish for in a giant-spiders movie. It features a small town under attack, a few endearing characters from Central Casting (Including the scrumptious Kari Wuhrer as a shotgun-blasting sheriff; woo-hoo!), loads of weapons, clever tactics, a high body count and, oh, hundreds of giant spiders. It’s loads of fun for whoever can appreciate the pure artistic meaning of a giant-spiders movie. It’s not completely successful (the pacing lags at the end, and some characters -like the conspiracist DJ- are just insipid), but frankly I’d be hard-pressed to find a better monster B-movie since the original Tremors. Enjoy yourself squishily!
(Second viewing, On DVD, January 2003) Silly, funny and not afraid to be a little stupid when it needs to be, this is a triumphant return of the B-grade monster movie. Camera-equipped PDAs and digitally-created spiders notwithstanding, this is a throwback to the golden era of bad fifties sci-fi, and a pretty enjoyable one at that. At least it’s honest it what it attempts to be (as the commentary quickly establishes) and never aspires to any higher purpose. While the film won’t break through to general audiences with no particular hunger for giant spider movies, it holds up rather well to a second viewing for this fan of the sub-genre. The DVD is otherwise serviceable, with an amusing commentary track, a diverting short film and a few deleted scenes (including one which answers one of my biggest “huh?”s) but, curiously enough, a rather remarkable lack of making of material on visual effects. Oh well. It’s bug-squishing fun enough as it is anyway!