IN THE SPIDER'S WEB
Reviewed by: Dave Murray
What's it about
A group of tourists gets lost in the jungles of Northern India (wait, they have jungles there, I thought the jungles were only along the south coast? Silly me...), and racing to save their friend from a spider's bite they come across a native village where everyone wears either burlap sacks or GAP t-shirts and khakis. It seems an American doctor has complete control over the town, and they are using spider venom to harvest organs to sell on the black market. Mix in some unfulfilled romances, an annoying chick carrying the obligatory B-movie video camera, and one serious dunderhead of a local constable, and you've got a meal that is so bad it's probably even somewhat good. Oops, I spoke too soon, there's another rubber spider!
Is it good movie?
Sometimes a movie is so laughably bad that it transcends the boundaries of the traditional B-movie and drops down to an E or even an F level. Yep, you guessed it, this is one of those movies. Normally I would revel in F-grade, straight-to-dvd/made for TV cheesiness, because let's face it, sometimes shitty movies are a hell of a lot of fun. This one, marred by some seriously bad acting and some of the worst spider effects I've ever seen in a movie, can't even be recruited for a "best of the worst" marathon. The reason? Most of what makes it bad is just simply annoying.
Even the presence of genre great Lance Henriksen fails to save this movie from being what it is in almost every respect, and that is lame. They started out with a great concept: a mad doctor is using spider venom to paralyze a lot of unwilling organ donors, filtering out the toxins and then selling said organs on the big bad "black market". The thought of young and pretty teens screaming and crawling with thousands of spiders is enough to send even those without serious phobias running away in terror. But this movie fails in the one most important area that it should have made sure to excel at: the bloody spiders! There are probably about a dozen real spiders in the flick, and while they are big and hairy and nasty, the rest of the film's titular creatures are portrayed by rubber spiders hanging from strings, and the most laughably bad CG spiders I've ever seen. I know they didn't have the effects budget or wizardry of Peter Jackson, but come on! When a character is wrapped up in spider webs, why are they shot lying on the floor wrapped up in gauze like the freaking Mummy? Weak effects work killed this lame horse right out of the gate. Even arachnophobics will be laughing at the creepy crawlers in this one.
On the acting side, Henriksen was sorely underused, and the script that he had to work with was weak to say the least. But the leads were all boring and wooden unknown young actors, and some of them grated on your nerves to an extreme degree. The local constable was such a poor parody of an Indian cop, that, well, he was kind of funny. And the girl with the video camera? If you are going to have a girl with a video camera (and every movie since Blair Witch does these days, I'm sure), then can you at least cast someone who knows how to use one. This girl handles it like an epileptic jitterbug suffering from caffeine seizures! And yet, even though her shooting style would be better suited to swatting at flies, her footage is always steady and ominous? Am I missing something here. Yes, I know movies are pretend, but do they have to insulting to your basic human intelligence as well? And the whole mutant, shaman brother angle was poorly done. The spiderwebs he wore on his head (apparently to cover the gaping hole filled with spiders where his eye should have been) looked an awful lot like spaghetti. Another crap effects job. He had a pretty nice pretend sword though.
The flick does look okay, and some of the locations are easy on the eyes and even a little creepy. But with a crappy story devoid of tension, adequate pacing and characters that, while being galacticaly dumb, offer no more emotional attachment than a moldy nacho, nothing in this movie capitalizes on the locations. And the digital video feel of the whole affair just emphasizes how bad everything else is. Too bad. They had the start of a great story, a recognizable B-movie star, and obviously some talent. But none of it came together in this movie. Given the chance, I would pass on this one, and you should too.
Video / Audio
Video: Widescreen - 1.78:1.
Audio: English (Dolby Digital 5.1 and 2.0 Surround) and closed captioning in English.
Not a one. Thank you for that.
This watered down, poorly written TV movie probably won't be remembered as anything more than a tiny, crappy blip on Henriksen's career. With a bunch of spider movies out there that are infinitely superior, I'd avoid this one if I were you. The shitty and lazy effects, the wooden acting, digital video quality look and the waste of a good concept, all combine to make for one hell of a bad movie. It gets points for effort alone, but overall, it's really a forgettable movie in all respects.