I’m a sucker for a monster movie so when I saw a movie titled Big Ass Spider hit the shelves of my local Wally World I was down. The movie kicks off with us meeting an exterminator named Alex. When we first meet him, we find him dragging a rat out from under a lady’s house. During this he gets bitten by a spider and ends up in the emergency room. Being short of cash he takes the opportunity to trade some of his services for his hospital bill. A body came in with a spider living inside it, which has now gotten loose. With the help of a hospital security guard, Jose, he goes off looking for the creepy crawler in the basement.
While all of that is happening, we also watch as the military shows up and takes over the facility. See this isn’t just any old spider, but one that was infused with some Alien DNA turning it into a bioweapon experiment. Now the thing is loose, killing, eating, and growing. If that isn’t bad enough the damn thing is about to spawn some baby spiders, who will eventually be just as large and dangerous as their mama. It is up to Alex and Jose to save the day and the girl. I should mention that along the way Alex meets Lt. Karly who became his love interest and was grabbed by the spider as a snack for its babies. Dating can be really complicated in this modern world of ours with the bioengineered menaces from outer space.
I picked this DVD up years ago when it first came out and have revisited this movie every couple years since then. I loved the cheesy story and characters as well as the goofy looking CGI special effects. The story is your typical monster run amok flick, here with it being a military experiment gone wrong (another typical trope) leading to a healthy body count as the civilians get knocked off rapidly as the creature grows. I think we have all seen this story before, but they execute it so well that while familiar it still comes off as entertaining. What helps with this is the healthy about of humor in the script and that the actors portraying the characters have some charisma and timing. Big Ass Spider! feels like a movie made by people who not only understood what they were doing but also have an appreciation for the genre that they are gently poking fun at.
The cast features a good performance from Greg Grunberg as Alex. Lin Shaye and Ray Wise have small supporting roles and are a lot of fun. Though I’d have to say that Lombardo Boyar as Jose steals every scene that he is in. He gets most of the best lines and kills it at every opportunity. The movie is directed by Mike Mendez (Gravedancers, Don’t Kill It) who is one of my favorite independent filmmakers working today. He gets what fans enjoy and want, normally delivering the goods.
Now about the special effects. I get that I normally rail against digital work, but this is a giant monster movie, so my rules are different. I grew up watching live insects crawl across photographic plates and/or puppets menace miniatures standing in for buildings and vehicles. So, a silly looking CGI spider isn’t going to bother me. It is quite the opposite as these sorts of effects feel like the successor to the low budget tricks they used in the fifties and sixties to bring this kind of movie to the big screen.
There isn’t much else that needs to be said about the movie. I can think of much worse ways to kill ninety or so minutes than watching Big Ass Spider! and recommend it and I think you will have some fun watching the arachnid mayhem.
© Copyright 2020 John Shatzer