This movie stunk so much you’d think that there were barking spiders in the theater.
When a truck swerves to avoid hitting a rabbit, a barrel full of toxic chemicals flies off the back of it and lands in a pond on the outskirts of a small mining town. The barrel leaks its contents and contaminates all of the crickets in the area that a weird old man feeds to his exotic collection of spiders he breeds for sale. The movie doesn’t waste too much time as the spiders quickly grow out of control and take over the spider breeder’s shack.
Meanwhile, bad boy Chris (David Arquette) returns home to the mining town after hearing of his father’s death. As he wanders back into town, we discover that he has a major crush on Sam, the town’s sheriff (Kari Wuhrer) and that her young son happens to be a spider aficionado. These are only a few of the rather hollow characters we get to see being chased around town by overgrown arachnids.
Okay, the good news is that you get what you pay for. After we get through with all of the sloppy character set-up, the giant spiders invade the town en masse and gobble up everyone they can get their eight legs around. Actually, the last half of the film exists as one big chase scene as the town’s survivors scurry from one seemingly safe location to the next with the giant bugs tirelessly pursuing them. This gives plenty of room for monster mashing as well. The townsfolk have armed themselves to the teeth and they’re not very squeamish about emptying their firearms into this horde of creatures. So if all it takes to entertain you is show you things that go BOOM and SQUISH, you’re solid with this one.
The bad news is that this is a pretty boring and rather dopey monster movie. Let me call your attention to “Tremors”, another monster movie with a similar basis – a small town is invaded by overgrown creatures. Actually, once the trailers for “Eight Legged Freaks” started showing everywhere, quite a few people made this comparison. Hey, it’s an obvious one and it looked like “Eight Legged Freaks” was going to be a good time for sure. Well, in the immortal words of Tom (of Tom and Jerry) – DON’T YOU BELIEVE IT! “Eight Legged Freaks” has none of the cleverness of “Tremors” and they don’t even try. They attempt to thrill you with minimal effort. You want spiders? Well, here they are, but you have to put up with our terrible characters, scenarios and jokes that are half baked at best and open ended story elements. For instance, we become privy to the fact that the mayor of the town is secretly keeping these barrels of toxic chemicals in the town’s mines, but later, when the film’s survivors are wandering about the mines, no one questions why the hell there are barrels of toxic chemicals all over the place. Furthermore, the mayor is never exposed for being the man indirectly responsible for the arachnid menace. Shit just happens and that’s it.
There aren’t even any decent scare gags to keep things entertaining. I never thought I’d be bored watching people getting eaten by spiders, but there I was. Bored…bored…bored…bored…bored…bored. Can I be the mommy?