Perhaps it’s the desire for a good laugh in these trying times, but there’s something endearing about the silliest of B-Horror films, the ones where characters barricade themselves in a large structure using everything from guns to rakes to make one last stand. Of course, these films aren’t everyone’s cup of tea, but I give credit where credit is due. And yes, Eight Legged Freaks is an underrated film.
In case the title doesn’t give away the premise, we’re introduced to Chris McCormick (David Arquette) showing all the tomfoolery we’d expect from the Scream star as he returns to his small hometown with hopes of supporting his late father’s claims of riches in the town’s mines, and to reunite with an old flame and Sheriff Parker (Kari Whurer). When a barrel of chemicals spills next to a home with over a hundred pet spiders…well, things go wrong.
Growing to rather large sizes, the spiders begin their invasion of town with various ridiculously fun scenes involving early 2000's trends such as teenagers motorbiking. Why kicking a spider off your bike is not a recognized trick is beyond me. The cast are classic caricatures, including a ridiculous deputy in the same vein as Barney Fife, the child expert on the arachnids, a corrupt mayor, and a conspiracy theorist who ends up getting the truth before the ending credits.
Produced by Roland Emmerich, the film is written and directed by Ellory Elkayem, with a mixture of horror and comedy. Very few movies about giant monsters can be taken seriously and while there are some grittier moments, the fun comes from the build-up as a mess of animals disappear in scenes that would quite frankly, make one sad, if they weren’t so humorous. The oddest sorts of noises are made as the spiders appear to develop personalities and little quirks.
If a spider did grow to the size of a lawnmower, would it really chirp and beep like an Alvin and the Chipmunks cartoon? I have no idea. But the idea is fun to see, as are the moments where McCormick says something silly or heroic. Yes, there are quite a few of them. He does have a lady to impress, after all. If you’re looking for a fun throwback, this is one to look up.
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