Customer Review

Reviewed in Canada on January 3, 2003
Hollywood has had a long fascination with BBM (Big Bug Movies). Usually, such monstrosities were the result of man's fooling around with forbidden experiments. The tone that the director usually took was in grimmest earnest. In films like THEM and THE THING, the local population had to band together in mutual self-defense while suffering heavy casualties before the Bright Eyed Handsome Scientist figured out how to whack the creature. In EIGHT LEGGED FREAKS, director Ellory Elkayem continues the time-honored tradition of presenting a host of mutant bugs--this time spiders--but infusing the film with a much needed breath of humor. Only one human really gets killed, thereby allowing the audience to focus on the odd melding of horror with humor. David Arquette plays a returning prodigal son who left town years ago, pining in unrequited love for Samantha (Kari Wuhrer--of SLIDERS fame), the tough talking but fiercely built sherrif who, of course, refuses to believe in the existence of oversized spiders until one literally jumps on her. The real stars are the leaping arachnids themselves, with each one the size of a VW Beetle, capable of leaping incredibly long distances. In matters of pure science, the Inverse Square Law forbids any such bugs from expanding in size while retaining their proportional mobility, yet, I was fascinated with the computer-enhanced special effects (at least I hope it was special effects) that permitted a horde of them from descending on a sleepy town. Whenever a BBM has a pint-sized geeky teen backing up the hero, then you know that the entire production is one continuous inside joke. There is a succession of allusions to other BBM. Director Elkayem even shows a few scenes of attacking ants from THEM. Later he gives the arachnids the ability to squeal in the manner of the furballs of GHOULIES. The thrill of this movie is not diluted by a predictable plot. Paradoxically, since the focus is more on humor than horror, then it can allow itself to be a self-conscious parody of many prior BBMs. By the time you get to the closing credits, you don't care that what you saw was as far removed from arachnid anatomy as Spiderman was from a real spider. All you know is that you found out that only the very best of BBMs allow you to laugh and cry at the same time.
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