Have you ever wondered the origin of those giant spiders from Jumanji? Have you ever thought their concept was strong enough to make an entire feature based around a queen spider terrorizing a family? Well, it seems that some filmmakers cooked up a movie along similar vibes, and that’s exactly what we got. The brainchild of Micah Gallo, Jason Alvino, and Bryan Dick, Itsy Bitsy is a creature feature that really wants to be a family drama, and can’t decide between the two. Its hodgepodge of generic and harshly contrasting plot mechanics is offset by a surprisingly apt technical execution and committed performances by its cast.
Kara Spencer (Elizabeth Roberts) has moved herself and her children, Jesse (Arman Darbo) and Cambria (Chloe Perrin), into a large secluded home next to the ailing Walter Clark (Bruce Davison), with the aim of being his personal nurse. However, after Kara is unsettled by a break-in at Walter’s house by the mysterious Ahkeeba (Treva Etienne) on her first day, events soon turn supernatural as the legend of an ancient spider queen shrouds the family’s first week in the new town. In tandem with the massive arachnid scuttling about, Kara struggles to keep her family together and keep herself on the straight and narrow as her past demons and habits return to threaten everyone.
“In tandem with the massive arachnid scuttling about, Kara struggles to keep her family together…”
Now, I usually don’t look for much characterization in most creature features, with the main focus (of course) being that of the monster terrorizing people. We may root for the underdog protagonist fighting off the beasties, but for the most part, they often serve as showcases for the special effects teams. And to its credit, Itsy Bitsy does have some snapshot moments of solidly executed practical effects, and those with arachnophobia (like myself) will be skeeved out at a few sequences involving our skittering foe. However, the majority of computer effects throw immersion out the window (quite literally in one instance), and regardless of how hard the movie tries, it doesn’t make up the lost ground by the end.