Eight Legged Freaks (2002)
Director: Ellory Elkayem
Doug E. Doug/Harlan
A toxic boo-boo make the spiders in some small hick town grow to ludicrous “we’re in big trouble” sizes. When the 8-legged gigantic insects decide to go human hunting, it’s up to luscious Kari Wuhrer (Sam), her shotgun, her homies and her white tight top to save the day. ALL HAIL KARI WUHRER!
Arrow is kicking it in decadent Las Vegas at the moment (VEGAS BABY…VEGAS!) and even the city of sin couldn’t keep this arrogant prick away from a new genre flick on the big screen. So was this creepy crawly jamboree worth the time away from the bright lights, hard drinks and abundance of flaunting female flesh that fills the Casino I’m wasting in? Let’s find out.
Eight Legged Freaks is more of a tongue in cheek comedy than a true horror uppercut to the jaw. Think Gremlins and Tremors but with less scares. Sure it does sport a couple of tense moments but the whole is mostly a laugh riot versus a nail biter. The spiders keep making these funny “cute beasties” sounds, the score is axed towards an oddball vibe, the sharp one liners hit home and are plenty, the gore meter is low and the characters are action figures (yet still endearing thanks to the solid acting and the sly dialogue). Now off course I would’ve went "Coco-Puffs" more if this baby would’ve aimed for the jugular but hey even this horny chump needs to chill out and have a couple of cheap thrills on occasions. In that department the film delivered like 3 cherries.
The first half of this giant RAID parade was definitely the strongest segment, slapping my way side-splitting lines (loved the movie references), a mucho hilarious Dougy E Doug (the anal probe monologue was priceless), kool self -referential winks to the sub genre its emulating (I was hip to the “kid in monster movie” jive), some silly but pleasant “spiders causing a ruckus” sequences (all about that fight with the cat in the wall…LOL) and one hell of an exhilarating “dude on a motor bike” VS “bunny hopping sicko spiders” extended chase sequence. Actually that wave of GOOD TIMES was by far my fav moment in this squashing party. When that hombre kicked that spider in mid air while riding his bike, I nearly bathed myself in blue Koolaid. GREAT STUFF!
But alas, the film gave away all of its best cards in its first round and once the second half was dealt, it took a couple of steps down in creativity, wit and knee slapping scenes. The spiders against human bang bang became a bit redundant, the plot turns marched down the very déjà vu highway and the physical get downs just became less “OUT THERE” and more through the Mr. Magoo motions. I also didn’t go hog wild for the claustrophobic feel the movie put out like a Vegas Showgirl in heat during its last segment. The action always took place in tight spots and this jerk would’ve liked to have seen more “spiders at gory play” in open spaces for its finale. Even while using a huge mall as a setting, this celluloid candy still found a way to move the action in tighter than virgin Asians corners. But that’s not to say it wasn’t watchable, I still had some pleasurable strokes from this one but it could’ve been more and it should’ve gone further.
On a whole, this insect caramel orgy is worth a peek-a –boo down down its familiar panties. I mean can you go wrong with Kari Wuhrer looking fine and kicking spider ass left and right? I didn’t thinks so. Tag to that some CGI effects that goes from solid to B Movie fake, some way kool bits where spiders web they’re human victims (gnarly shite!), a couple of effective boo scares and some charming players and you get a big budget rendition of those old giant critters on the loose offerings the 50’s use to dish out. Are you in the mood for a slice of expensive CHEDDAR? YES? Here ya go buddy!
Not much to go "postal" about. Most of the kills are off-screen so we’re left with green spider blood and more green spider blood.
David Arquette (Chris) does his thang, you dig, you okay, you don’t….you fucked. Kari Wuhrer (Sam) is the money and then some. She gives a credible performance and looks like a yummy jackpot. Scarlett Johansson (Ashley) lets her deep blue eyes and plump lips do the acting. Scott Tera (Mike) rocks the house and he’s a kid! Give this “Harry Potter” knockoff a bowling trophy. Doug E. Doug (Harland) cracked my cracker ass off and I bought it signed sealed delivered. He’s one funny man! Rick Overton (Dep Pete) is natural and also funny as hell in winter…GOOD SHITE! Matt Czuchry (Bret) pisses in his pants like nobody’s business and for that he deserves my props. GREAT SCENE!
T & A
We get Kari Wuhrer looking all bobble in that tight top and the ladies get naked and sometimes macho hairy spiders. NOTE: Kari why did the leather jacket stay on the whole way? I wanted to see more (hence less) of that tight top!
The directing serves the movie well, nothing really standout but I did groove on how some of the spider sequences, the action set pieces and the minor scares were handled. Harmless yet competent.
The score here pretty much fits the vibe of the film, I did find it a tad too goofy at times and that lessened the potential tension of some scenes. We’re also served with one rock song.
Distributor: Warner Brothers Home Entertainment
IMAGE: The 2.35:1 anamorphic widescreen transfer is pretty much perfect with only a few scenes in which I thought the black color tones we're just a little too black. But overall, it's the money.
SOUND: The Dolby Digital 5.1 sound comes through hardcore, with bug noises assaulting us from every speaker and the kooky score coming in loud and clear. Good stuff!
Commentary (feature length): David Arquette, Rick Overton, writer/director Ellory Elkayem, and producer Dean Devlin all come in at the same time to blab in this so-so commentary. Taking into account that we have four peeps in the room, I expected less dead time and more talk in regards to the experience that was the production. Here, we get lots of technical info and Arquette quipping here and there (he's pretty funny), although I wish the commentary would've gone further into casting and gnarly set stories. It has its moments, but I found this commentary to be uneven.
Additional scenes (~ 13 minutes): On the back of the DVD box it says: "Eight spine-tingling additional scenes of spiders in action", well...I didn't find any spider stuff in the deleted scenes on this disk (I did find some creepy crawlers in my nachos but that's a whole other story). Having said that, the deleted bits were still interesting from a fan point of view, but don't promise us cake, if you're only going to give us crackers.
Larger than life: the short that inspired the film (~ 13 minutes): Ellory Elkayem's short is what got Devlin all jazzed up in locking him for Eight Legged Freaks. The short is in black and white and has some lady being stalked by swiftly growing giant spiders in her new home. The short opens with a written intro by Elkayem, is pretty entertaining and well shot, and sports the same type of humor as its feature length brother. Fun times!
We also get Creepy Crawling Giants (a written essay on giant bug films), Theatrical Trailer, Cast and Crew and some CD Rom stuff (yes, a first-shooter video game kids) for those of you who have the software on your CPU.
If you grooved on the movie, you'll get a couple of well placed spider bites from this well put together DVD. It's not flawless, but it's worth a few smiles.
If you’re scared of spiders, hit this “Arachnophobia” on steroids offspring and get even more grossed out. I personally laughed my ass off, jumped like a nervous frog in some parts and found some easy goods to boogie down to. Sure the second section of the film smelled a tad un-inspired but once the credits rolled I still felt better about losing all that green to the blackjack table (fuck that lousy dealer). That’s worth something…TRUST ME! Now back to the slots and the sluts I go. I need to win my money back (yeah right). Arrow has left the building!
This flick was shot in Arizona, USA.