'Eight Legged Freaks' is a fun, campy horror flick in the spirit of 50's monster movies. It's even better, because unlike some horror movies, this one actually intends to come across that way.
We start out in the small town of Prosperity AZ, which couldn't be further from prosperity. You see, the 'ol McCormack mines have pretty well dried up, and the locals have falled on hard times. This is the situation when Chris McCormack (David Arquette) strolls back into town after a 10 year absence. The son of the mine owner, he's determined not to sell, despite what Wade, the mayor, has to say about giving up on the town. You see, before his pa passed on, he said there was gold in them hills! (hills being uhm, mines, in this case).
Chris still has a bit of an love issue with the reason he left town in the first place - Sheriff Sam Parker, played by a smoking hot Keri Wuhrer. The law looks damn fine in Prosperity... Sheriff Parker's got two kids by an philandering ex-husband, including a brainy little boy named Mike with a penchant for spiders. He's also got an older friend Joshua, who raises tons of the little critters. Problem is, they seem to be getting bigger at a pretty quick rate. Perhaps it has something to do with the massive toxic waste spill shown in the opening frames of the movie... or maybe it doesn't. Well actually, it does.
The movie's an excellent piece of work, and doesn't try all that hard to take itself seriously. There's plenty of funny moments, with comic scenes sprinkled throughout the film. Take for instance the spiders, who constantly seem to sound like a bunch of Ewoks being butchered. I'm pretty sure many of you have been waiting years to hear something like that. Scenes in which jumping spiders come out of nowhere to knock someone a couple meters laterally are priceless, and pretty abundant. There's also a funny moment where the spiders terrorize an ostrich ranch from underground. After watching it, one's almost convinced ostriches are marginally stupider then Arquette (He was in 'See Spot Run', that's not a sign of genius).
The acting is perfect for a movie of this sort. It's pure pleasure to watch David Arquette's infantile countenance valiantly struggle to rearrange his face into some semblance of serious human emotion - such as not giggling like a school girl. It's really quite at home in a movie of this type, one only hopes it's intentional. In all fairness, Arquette fits perfectly into this role. He really does add a lot to the movie.
The real stars of the movie are, of course, the spiders. They actually look very convincing. Their motion in particular is very believable to the average viewer, and I'm in no position to tell you how it looks to an expert. The animation of the jumping spiders is very smooth, and for all the rest it's a treat to see them skittering across walls and crawling into ceilings, sounding like unfortunate Ewoks all the while.
There are some moments of suspense, when you just know someone's gonna get it, but you're not quite sure if it'll happen just now, or maybe a second later. And campy or not, some of those spiders are just plain creepy, computer rendered or not. There's also pretty well no human gore to speak of, but if you're queasy when it comes to digital spiders spewing green goo, then you might want to steer well clear of this one.
If you're looking for a fun movie with a mild dose of the scary and huge spiders devouring people while getting torn apart by shotguns, this is the movie for you. It's probably the only one, so you better like it