Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Scary Movie Month 2014, Day 15

Big Ass Spider!

I am absolutely terrified of spiders. The movie Arachnophobia, a PG-13 affair marketed as a "Thrill-omedy" (!) has probably given me more sleepless nights than any horror movie in history. So, when I first saw posters & such for a movie called Big Ass Spider! two thoughts went through my head: great title, and no fucking way will I ever watch that. Cut to last night, when I listened to an episode of the great Killer POV podcast that featured Mike Mendez, the director of Big Ass Spider! He was funny, enthusiastic, and convinced me to give his movie a try. Spoiler: I'm SO glad I did.

There are movies that pop up on the SyFy Channel every few weeks, you know the type: Sharktopus, Mega Piranha, RoboCroc vs DynaHamster or whatever. The thing they all have in common is that they're uniformly awful. They try so hard to be campy that they just become boring and lifeless, they don't understand that you can't manufacture camp. I cannot stress enough that this is NOT one of those movies, it's a blast from start to finish and it's fun without ever becoming just another generic monster-movie-of-the-week.

I'd go into detail about the plot, but it's all right there in that glorious title. Greg Grunberg (who, for the record, is fantastic and knows exactly what movie he's in) is an exterminator who loves his job, but not in a mean-spirited or sadistic way, he's just a guy who's good at what he does, and what he does is combat spiders. Good thing, because there happens to be a big ass one in town that requires attention.

The movie is fast-paced, consistently funny, and even has moments of genuine suspense. The supporting cast is great (a shame Ray Wise and Lin Shaye never got to share a scene, they were terrific together in Dead End) and the comedy comes from character which is so rarely the case in movies like this. It's never outwardly jokey (ok, maybe a little) but it's solidly funny throughout (and at 80 minutes, it never wears out its welcome). The effects are mostly poor CGI, but as an inveterate arachnophobe I was somewhat glad for that, since the cartoony nature of some of the effects kept my heart from exploding while watching it. Had it been too realistic, I might have been writing this from the back of an ambulance.

This is easily my favorite discovery of the month thus far, and I'm glad I finally gave it a chance. I never thought I'd say this, but I sincerely hope there are more Big Ass Spider!s in my future, and at the very least I'm fully on board for whatever Mike Mendez has up all eight sleeves next.

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