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Film review: BIG ASS SPIDER, from Built For Speed

Big Ass Spider should be an hilarious and gloriously stupid straight to DVD trash-fest.  Like Sharknado and Snakes On A Plane, however, Big Ass Spider suffers from the fact that it tries to have a bet each way, it plays with the tropes and clichés of b-movies and “creature features” but also tries to be a straight up action film.  Consequently, it isn’t so much a b-movie parody as a cheapo action/ horror flick with a few knowing winks and quirky gags.

Remarkably, this film has one of the best opening sequences of any action or horror film this year.  In what seems to be a deliberate reference to the final scenes in Fight Club, Big Ass Spider begins with an impressive flash-forward to the titular giant spider wreaking havoc atop a building to the strains of The Pixies “Where is my mind” (covered by Storm Large).  Unfortunately, the film’s standards drop rapidly from there.

The spider, which is a bio-engineered experiment gone wrong, first appears in a hospital where it creeps around the air conditioning vents snacking on patients.  Doubling in size with each kill, the creature becomes as a big as whale and starts laying waste to LA.  As the monstrous arachnid threatens to breed and flood the world with its progeny, Earth’s only hope lies with one man, intrepid bug exterminator Alex Mathis (Greg Grunberg). Of course sinister government and military figures are behind the spider attack and soon the smug Major Tanner (Ray Wise) turns up to command the spider hunt and generally get in Alex’s way.  The film tries to work in a romantic sub-plot of sorts as amid the spidery mayhem, the lovelorn Alex tries to seduce blonde army officer Karly (Claire Kramer).

Big Ass Spider is mostly played for laughs although the gags are only sporadically funny. There’s plenty of juvenile humour including a smattering of dick jokes but also, lamentably, some demeaning racial stereotypes as in Alex’s side-kick, the Mexican security-guard Jose (Lombardo Boyar).

The film doesn’t entirely abandon horror as there are some quite gory scenes of desiccated corpses and victims being squirted with acid. There are also numerous references to other monster movies including Aliens with a very familiar point-of-view helmet-cam sequence as soldiers creep around spidey’s labyrinthine lair.

The special effects vary from amusingly shonky to surprisingly impressive with the full grown spidey resembling one of the giant bugs from Star Ship Troopers.  A little too often though, this film looks like it was constructed on a lap top.

This film is silly and predictable but it’s reasonably pacey, has a few laughs and should appeal to those who remember the old days of monster movies presented by Deadly Earnest.

Nick’s rating: **1/2 stars.

Genre: Horror/ comedy.

Classification: TBA.

Director(s): Mike Mendez.

DVD Release date: 19th Feb 2014

Running time:  80 mins.

 

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