Spiders (Review)

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SPIDERS

After having read some very poor comments on the quality of conversion for “Spiders 3D”, I opted for the safe bet and purchased the regular DVD for $10. “Spiders” is directed by Tibor Takacs (Ice Spiders), who has done his fair share of creature feature films over the last decade. I’m not sure if this is supposed to be a remake of the film of the same name from 2000, but I’m assuming it is. Spiders is set in New York City, the story follows Jason (Patrick Muldoon), a traffic controller for the NY subway system. After a soviet space station crashes into a section of the railway and mutated spiders are released an outbreak threatens the entire city. Jason and his soon to be ex-wife Rachel (Christa Campbell), and their daughter Emily (Sydney Sweeney) must survive the military protocol and the scientists as well as the Spiders themselves and put a stop to the rise of the Queen mother. The film also stars Shelly Varod, William Hope and Pete- Lee Wilson.

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Now, right off the bat you either take these silly Syfy or Asylum presented creature features for exactly what they are cheesy fun or you don’t. If you can’t ignore all the obvious issues and low budgets enough to get some entertainment from them (and I’m sure that’s most of you haha) then your better off giving them a miss. I have always had a soft spot for the B movie and for the most part these are made for the love of the genre and everyone just sets out to have a bit of fun. You still have to have some essentials though before you decide to make one of these. I was hoping for a modern version of the 1955 monster movie “Tarantula” which I recently watched. I didn’t think much of the film it’s 60 years old and obviously dated now. However, what I did like was the techniques they used to shoot the spider because it was real, CG wasn’t even a thought back then. Did I get a modern-day Tarantula with “Spiders” or not?? (haha doesn’t sound right does it?)

THE GOOD

Lets kick things off with the technical aspects which can only be described as a mixed bag when you’re looking at this genre of film. The audio and camera work in this one is pretty good. They used a lot of crane shots which give the action scenes a pretty interesting look. The investigative and dialogue orientated scenes are done solidly too. The various sets like the warehouse, the apartment and the restaurant were clearly cheaply put together to replicate something you’d see in NYC and they looked decent enough.

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Patrick Muldoon has been a part of a lot of these creature feature films and originally started in daytime soap acting but he actually stands out above the rest of the cast here. Is he that good? Or is everybody else that bad? A little bit of both probably. I read a lot of reviews that really slammed the acting, I didn’t think any of it was particularly cringe worthy but all of Rachel’s lines Christa totally underplayed with emotion/expressionless facials. It’s the secondary characters though, like friends of Jason’s and members of the Military that were quite bad and you couldn’t take anything they had to say seriously. The better part of the film was the climax and the overall look of the spiders. Yeah sure it’s cheap CG, which most of these films rely on but if you watch enough of them you can tell the difference between the cheesy lame and the god awful (which no one wants to see). The bigger the spiders get the better they look and I think given the budget, most of which was clearly spent on CG you’d expect this result.

THE BAD

Okay wow the bad, where do I start. Let’s face it a film like this isn’t at all original and it’s virtually a remake of 3 or more other films, therefore it was never going to be a masterpiece. However, I’m thinking that some of that estimated 7 million dollar budget should have been spent on some council/city permits to make shooting on the streets of New York City a reality. I will break it down for you, what we have here is a junction of two streets made out to look like New York City. Now the problem with that is it’s near impossible to recreate the backdrop of the rest of this massive city with cheap CGI and blend it seamlessly. They chose to shoot the same shot over and over as well as from different angles to try to make it look like a different part of the city and it’s so obviously a studio back lot that looks terrible. From the pavement, to the fire hydrants, to the coffee shop fronts and the one wall facades holding up entire “pretend buildings”, it’s all so obviously abysmal you can’t ignore it. The B-movie hit “Sharknado” wasn’t much different but it had a certain charm, a flare, it was fast paced and had that pure entertainment, this did not.

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Changing signs of different platform stops and hanging a few fake cobwebs in an otherwise clean set design of a subway system isn’t going to fool many folks, or maybe it is? (haha). A lot of the other reviewers didn’t mention a thing about the pathetic lack of attention to detail so maybe I’m imagining this?. If you don’t have the money to get council or city approval to shut down streets/traffic etc, then fine that’s okay but change the location don’t shoot two streets and retreat into the studio. Don’t have a chase sequence in a warehouse full of boxes that contain nothing, what the hell?? When they all fall over you will get a hollow sound effect, it’s just embarrassing. Couldn’t the crew be bothered filling them with something? or were they worried they wouldn’t get what they needed in one take. We are given a lot of standard stock footage of traffic, but zero extras in any of the scenes and to make matters worse the continuous establishing shots of New York just remind us of how truly amateurish this is put together, I could go on but I wont.

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Ignore the fact all the familiar family cliché’s are there. The bickering couple going through a divorce and the neglected daughter. You know Jason is going to probably save the day, rescue his family and everyone will live happily ever after. Obviously the film has to lose points for not having a different spin on the characters but in the greater scheme of the  story it’s not going to make or break the overall enjoyment. The biggest hindrance to the entertainment value of Spiders is the awful pacing, especially in the second act. They hint at a doctor/scientist who may become more involved in the story but never does, along with a random killing from a hitman?? not sure what that had to do with anything and where did he go??. By the time there is any on-screen action you will be well past the point of caring. The final battle with the Queen has a few fun moments but ultimately the action stinks. Spiders drag soldiers away or wrap them up in webbing while the colonel shoots at them with his pathetic hand gun, (as you would if you were a colonel *rolls eyes*). The military is completely useless and to make things more disappointing they don’t even get killed off in any cool or gory manner.

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If your still reading you know what Spiders is all about by now, don’t say I didn’t warn you. If this thing actually resembled a 7 million dollar budget and we got some deaths and a lot faster pacing it could have been alright. This is a guy who enjoyed “Battledogs”, “Sand Sharks” and countless other cheese balls, but this almost scrapes the barrel at contending with “Jurassic Shark” and “Shark Week” a couple of the worst films your likely to ever see. I suggest watching “Eight Legged Freaks” if you’re keen on a giant spider movie, hell even watch “Tarantula” at this point anything would be better.

My rating for “Spiders” is 2.5/10

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