17 Nov 2013

'Big Ass Spider!' Review

Director: Mike Mendez
Writer: Gregory Gieras
Stars: Greg Grunberg, Ray Wise, Lombardo Boyar
Running Time: 80 mins
Sub-Genre: Sci-Fi, B-Movie, Monster, Comedy
Release: October 2013

A giant alien spider escapes from a military lab and rampage the city of Los Angeles. When a massive military strike fails, it is up to a team of scientists and one clever exterminator to kill the creature before the city is destroyed.

Big Ass Spider, 2013's answer to Eight Legged Freaks is a B-Movie romp that proves that spiders are still scary and when growing to unnatural sizes can cause a lot (and I mean a lot) of destruction. Premiering back at the SXSW Film Festival along side the likes of Fede Alverez's Evil Dead, this caused quite a stir in the genre and proved to surprise fans with it's outrageous display of wit and scares. Big Ass Spiders is an early attempt at something different, and although it treads a lot of familiar ground in the monster B-movie sub-genre, it establishes early on that it is trying to do something different. It may reek Eight Legged Freaks, but this monstrous spider flick has a little more up it's sleeve, even if it's shrouded in cliche and cheese.

Genre fans may indulge in what Big Ass Spider has to offer, but at times, I found the film to to forced unnecessarily tacky. It's ambitious in its delivery, and aside from the side-tracking CGI the film has much to offer. If you can look past the poor yet distracting CGI then you might find something charming about this monster feature; I couldn't, therefore I didn't. The comedy works in places, and there are a few effective jump scares scattered along the way, but Big Ass Spiders fails to establish anything films of its style have done before, so you may just get another cliched B-movie experience that would please those who seek a campy creature feature. There are a few promising moments here, and they do shine above the lack of intellect of the rest of the film - there is something endearing about it all, and I can appreciate that, just after I get past the fact that the ugly CGI is in use throughout most of the flick.

Perhaps with a bigger budget and a better cast this could have been something substantial  but then again, that "so bad it's good" charm wouldn't have been in full throttle and the comical leading men would have been overlooked. You wouldn't go into this not knowing what to expect, so you only have yourself to blame if a giant spider attacking the city doesn't go down quite a treat. I don't (fully) regret making the decision to watch this as it was a lot more fun than I had expected, but if I had the opportunity to watch it again, I would pass it off just as fast. The central cast made the comical aspect spark, and the wit between the pair added to the childishness of it all, and although that wouldn't normally pay-off in other films, it worked like a charm for Big Ass Spider. Listen, the campy aspect and the cheesy one-liners all work for the wrong reasons, but it will never beat the "so bad it's good" title over Sharknado. In fact, I don't think anything could. Hard luck Big Ass Spider, but let's call it a night and not make a second one huh?

VERDICT: Slapstick, campy, cheesy, embarrassing. I mean all that in the best possible way.

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