Movie Review: Spiders

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We’ve got something special today, folks–a little something new in advance of its release from our friends at Millennium Entertainment. It’s called “Spiders”, and it’s got a lot going for it. It’s only recently made an appearance in several California theaters, so for those living anywhere else, you’re getting quite the advance look. It will hit DVD and VoD alike March 12, so there’s a bit of a wait for some sweet monster movie.

“Spiders” joins us to something of a rare event; a chunk of space station junk lands on New York. Specifically, it falls through and lands in one of New York’s abandoned subway tunnels. But the junk in question has some unexpected tenants in the form of spiders living and spinning assorted webs in the midst of it.

When the junk falls to Earth, rather than just burning up in the atmosphere, something rather unexpected starts to happen. The spiders inside the space junk, and now inside the subway system,begin to grow, unexpectedly–at least to everyone except the people watching the movie–and MTA officials are dispatched to find out what’s going on. But now, the spiders are massive, and ready to rip the Big Apple’s core clean out.

Tibor Takacs’ work–according to the IMDB he both wrote and directed “Spiders”, interestingly–goes back quite a long way. Takacs actually did one of my earlier favorite titles in “I, Madman”, as well as horror fare like “The Gate”, “Bad Blood”, and several other such titles including the “Police Academy” television series.

Perhaps the best part of this is the little clues left around to show just how bad this business can get. For instance, it will take some astute watching to notice what’s happening to the rat when the MTA goes into the first subway tunnel. But noticing that rat’s fate will provide a much better idea of what’s going on, and provide a lovely note of foreboding as to the near-term future with the spiders.

However, the whole thing starts to get a little confused about a third of the way through. One part is working with the spiders, another is talking virus, and though the two are connected, it’s going to take a little closer consideration than really should be required from a monster movie. There have been plenty of giant spider movies before, and “Spiders” isn’t that bad on the grander scale, but really takes itself a bit more seriously than a clearly low-budget movie about giant spiders actually should. It likely would have been better for “Spiders” to take a path more like that of “Eight Legged Freaks.”

However, there’s no denying the action component of this one, which is pretty potent, especially toward the end as the really big spiders start cropping up as the box art would have you believe. Overall, it’s pretty well done, even if it’s got some flaws to it in the most objective sense.

The special features, sadly, aren’t here as we’ve landed a very early publicity screener.

While “Spiders” isn’t going to be anyone’s idea of Oscar fodder–some might indeed think it’s reaching for even the SyFy Channel to get in on–it’s a sound enough example of monster movie for most anyone. A sound pedigree, a reasonable plotline, and a simple and basic execution add up to a decent piece of work overall. With nights still long and plenty of opportunity for a good popcorn-muncher to succeed, “Spiders” should do nicely for a simple, basic monster movie to step in and entertain.

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