Customer Review

Reviewed in Canada on December 22, 2002
This delightfully entertaining "Eight-Legged Freaks" doesn't use words such as "spiders" or "attack", but the film is about those web-spitting scary creatures that suddenly terrify the local town of "Prosperity" in Arizona. The story is, in short, THEY ATTACK! Period. That's all. But for those fans who love this genre, and know the titles of 1950s films like "Tarantula" (which showed a bit of unknown actor Clint Eastwood), "Eight-Legged Freaks" offers exactly what is necesary to spend some time of life joyfully.
The stars, or humans attacked by the big bad spiders, are David Arquatte ("See Spot Run" and "Scream") and Kari Wuhrer ("Anaconda" and TV's "Sliders"). If you think the casting is intentional, you are right. (And among the producers you find Dean Devlin and Roland Emmerich, both behind the US "Gozzilla".) The cast and crew clearly are enjoying the making of the film, which deliberately makes use of old-fashioned monster-flicks; so, the spiders grow huge because of unidentified "toxic" thing, and a kid suspects there is something weird going on while adults ingore him ... etc., and you will find those familiar rules that are essential to the genre are used knowingly by the moviemakers in tongue-in-cheek fashion.
Reflecting today's atomosphere, Ms. Wuhrer's character, a devorced tough local cheriff with a daughter (Scarlett Johansson, "Ghost World"), is no scream queen, but she fights against the giant spiders with a help from Arquette's character, an old friend of her who returned to the town after ten years. There are some sight gags that would make you smile, but because of today's advanced CGI techniques, the visuals are sometimes scary, especially for kids. Even the fans who should have been accustomed to shock might jump in the seat if they are too unprepared.
The film, to be honest, lacks originality, and wavers between laugh and scare, never determined to be either of them. But its good CG images and measured pace are attractive enough to remind us of the pleasure of Kevin Bacon's much neglected "Tremors." This one may not be as good, but still is fun to watch.
Report abuse Permalink