Thursday, April 18, 2013

#976. Eight Legged Freaks (2002)

Directed By: Ellory Elkayem

Starring: David Arquette, Kari Wuhrer, Scott Terra

Tag line: "Do you hate spiders? Do you really hate spiders? Well they don't like you either"

Trivia: The original title was Arac Attack (in many European countries the film was released under that title)

A truck traveling through the small town of Prosperity, Arizona inadvertently drops a large barrel of toxic waste into a nearby river, polluting the entire area. Without realizing it, the owner of a local spider farm (Tom Noonan) feeds crickets that have been contaminated by the waste to his spiders, which, as a result, grow to an enormous size. No longer satisfied with eating bugs, the spiders break out of their cages and descend upon the unsuspecting residents of Prosperity, many of whom fall victim to the hungry creatures. Aided by her ultra-bright son, Mike (Scott Terra), and Chris McCormick (David Arquette), who recently returned to Prosperity after several years away, The town’s sheriff (Kari Wuhrer) faces off against the invading spiders, which grow bigger, and more aggressive, with each passing hour. 

Even without the above synopsis, the title alone should have clued you in on what Eight Legged Freaks was going to be about. But along with the killer spiders, the movie also gives us a trio of interesting characters, namely the determined sheriff and her two kids, Mike and Ashley (a teenage Scarlett Johansson). All three performers do a fine job in their respective roles, and we come to care about this small family as they struggle to survive the onslaught. While many of the film’s other characters are either cartoonish (Harlan, played by Doug E. Doug, hosts a local radio show where he endorses every conspiracy theory known to man) or boring (despite being the top-billed star, David Arquette is bland as Chris, and seems to be mimicking Officer Dewey, the character he portrayed in Wes Craven’s Scream series), this family at least ensures we have someone to root for. 

That said, the real stars of the movie are (not surprisingly) the spiders, most of which are brought to life by some fairly convincing CGI. Whether chasing teens on motorbikes or attacking a tanker truck as it barrels down the road, these monstrous arachnids are a force to be reckoned with throughout the film, and are the key reason why Eight Legged Freaks is a hell of a lot of fun.

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