REVIEW: Big Ass Spider
– By LastBoneStands
The Monster movie or Creature Feature is something that is not often done well in today’s film industry. For every modern “Godzilla”, there are heaps of films like “Mega Shark Vs. Crocosaurus”. It’s rare to find one that is enjoyable for more than its campiness. With a name like “Big Ass Spider” you may think the film by Mike Mendez and Gregory Gieras would fall into this category. Thankfully, that is not the case.
Now, don’t get me wrong. I very much enjoy the cheesy, campiness of the Sci-Fi original made-for-TV movies. The more schlock, the louder I cheer! Going into “Big Ass Spider”, I assumed that it would just be another low budget giant animal rampage film, filled to the brim with clichés and horrible effects. I was mostly wrong.
To begin, there are some recognizable faces in Greg Grunberg as hero exterminator Alex Mathis, Ray Wise as the tough major from the U.S. Army and we even get a fun cameo from Lin Shaye. Good start. The acting is played straight, for the most part. There is no over-the-top dialogue, or cringe-worthy one liners. The script is legitimately funny and Lombardo Boyar as sidekick Jose Ramos steals the show. Great casting choices all around.
The film centers on Grunberg’s character Alex Mathis who agrees to help the local hospital with a pest problem in exchange for having his medical bill wiped clean (ah, American healthcare, how I love you). Turns out this pest is actually a mutant spider that the military created using alien DNA. As the military enters the hospital, it becomes apparent that time is of the essence. The spider will continue to grow with each meal (person) it consumes.
As the film’s title would imply, they don’t stop it in time and the spider grows from a fist sized arachnid, to a house-sized killing machine. Even with the military’s help, this might be a task that’s too big for the humble exterminator.
As much as I enjoyed the film, there were some draw backs. The biggest problem I had is something that likely wouldn’t both most. My nerdiness is going to show through here, but Alex Mathis, a so-called expert on spiders continually referred to the beast as a poisonous spider, rather than a venomous spider. I know that it’s a common misconception, but it drove me nuts! I’ll not get into the whole venomous vs. poisonous thing here, but rest assured, there is a BIG difference.
The only other downside didn’t really both me due to the great acting and script, but the creature effects were very much on the low end of things. While the alien spider design was VERY cool, it was very obvious that it was CGI. It looked like it was pulled from a video game and just put into the real world. I understand that this film didn’t get a Godzilla-sized budget (ZING!), so I cannot fault the creators for working with what they had. I must repeat again, the spider design was VERY cool!
Clocking in at under 90 minutes, Big Ass Spider is a very entertaining film that makes up for the low budget with great acting and a fine sense of humour.